Sgt. 1st Class Donald Rickley with daughter Kaylee
MT. JULIET, TN (WSMV) -
A Mt. Juliet family got a big surprise Tuesday morning, and the entire community was behind it. Three young students hadn't seen their dad in months, as he's been deployed overseas, but he appeared at their school for a special Thanksgiving trip they had no idea was coming.
Parents were invited to the Thanksgiving party in 5-year-old Kaylee Rickley's kindergarten class at Rutland Elementary.
But as far as Kaylee knew, her dad wasn't able to come.
"As a dad, you're going to get nervous when you haven't seen your kids for a while," said her father, Sgt. 1st Class Donald Rickley, before the big reveal.
Donald Rickley has been deployed to Korea for three months, but he was able to fly back to Mt. Juliet to spend Thanksgiving at home.
He wasn't supposed to come home until March, so for the girls, it was a complete surprise.
His first stop was to see his third-grade daughter, Abby Rickley.
Rutland Elementary planned an assembly just for the homecoming, and during the assembly, Abby's name was called to come down and collect a big prize.
But she wasn't expecting to turn around and see her dad.
Next, Donald Rickley surprised his 11-year-old daughter, Taylor Rickley.
She was called out of class in the middle of a math test and saw her dad waiting with a big smile.
"I thought I was in huge trouble, actually. I didn't know what was going on," she said.
After a special introduction to Taylor's math class, it was finally time to surprise Kaylee. Her class was dressed in turkey hats and wishing Kaylee's dad could make it to the class party when he walked through the door.
For Kaylee, there were no words needed. Her holiday wish came true.
"I couldn't have asked for anything better," Donald Rickley said.
Donald Rickley surprised his wife with the homecoming Monday night. Family friends put their money together and bought the plane ticket so he could make the surprise trip home for the holiday.
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