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Watch 'nervous and excited' soldier dad surprise his kids at Virginia schools: 'My pride and joy'

Dad: 'I hope it gets the same reaction out of them as they’re going to get from me'
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Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 24, 2023

Watch the report from WTVR CBS 6 Photojournalist Chris Munnings in the video player above.

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- An Army father surprised his two children at their schools in Henrico County Friday after being overseas for two years.

Army Staff Sgt. Brandon Cole, who returned home after being stationed in Germany, said he was anxious to surprise his son and daughter.

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“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the kids, so I’m nervous and excited,” Cole said. “I hope it gets the same reaction out of them as they’re going to get from me.”

His daughter at Quioccasin Middle and son at Skipwith Elementary had no idea that their dad was back home in the Commonwealth.

Administrators did their best to sneak Cole into his daughter's classroom.

"There's two doors to this classroom," a Quioccasin staffer explained. "She's actually sitting by the front door, so we're going to outside and come around to the second door."

Cole walked into the classroom with a bouquet of flowers for his daughter.

“Hey, baby,” Cole said as his daughter spotted her dad and raced toward him.

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After that surprise, Cole said he was “doing good,” but was “still shaking” from the reunion.

“It was so exciting. We’ve got to go get your brother,” Cole told his daughter.

He said surprising his son would be “a lot more nerve-racking” because of the size of the crowd at Skipwith Elementary.

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Other students gasped in the cafeteria as Cole walked up behind his son. An announcement said the school would be celebrating "one very special young boy."

“What’s up, buddy,” Cole said after he kneeled next to his son.

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The stunned boy turned and did a double take before embracing his dad as the other students applauded.

“I’m home,” Cole said. “I’m here to get you out of school.”

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Cole’s daughter said she has watched military family reunion videos, but never imagined she would one day be part of one.

“I’ll watch these videos and I’ll cry and it’s so heartwarming,” she said. “But I never would have expected it to happen to me.”

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Cole said he was so happy to see his children.

“These are my pride and joy right here,” Cole said. “So whether it be for four days, or I’m here for the next three, four years just an hour up the road, and I get to see them every weekend, it doesn’t change. Every time I touch them, every time I hug them, you can’t replace that feeling.”

Welcome home, Staff Sgt. Cole — and thank you for your service!

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