A Vernon military family is celebrating a homecoming - their father back home after a long deployment overseas.
The Army National Guardsman surprised his daughter at school Monday, and got a heartwarming welcome home.
It was a reunion nearly a year in the making, but it probably felt a lot longer for the family. Sgt. First Class David Flint gave the surprise of a lifetime to his daughter Gabriella, popping up at Lake Street School to tell his little girl he's finally home.
Flint left Connecticut in January for a deployment to Jordan with the Connecticut Army National Guard. Despite serving his country around the globe, surprising his daughter gave him a little bit of nerves.
"I was just so anxious coming around the corner. I didn't want to tear up. But I kind of failed in that. It's emotional. These guys mean a lot to me and I'm just glad I got to be around them."
The husband and father of two said despite staying in touch while he was away, there's nothing like being home. Flint's wife, Cara, said having David home takes on even more meaning given the times we're in, and as they prepare for the holidays.
"It's been a long year. It's great. Everyone always wants to see their kids excited like that," she said.
Lake Street's principal, herself the product of a military family, was overjoyed to help make the moment happen.
"It's a very personal and touching time so I'm very appreciative that they shared that with us and gave us all something to celebrate today," Principal Tracy Duenzl said.
Clutching onto a doll of her daddy, an important reminder while he was away, Gabriella made the choice to spend the day with her family.