Oregon soldier surprises kids at school assembly - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon soldier surprises kids at school assembly

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A school assembly at a Salem elementary school turned into a tearful reunion for a mother and her two children Monday.

Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Joana Carroll surprised her two kids after nine months in Afghanistan.

Carroll said she had all sorts of emotions running through her as she waited anxiously to enter the Brush College Elementary School gym in Salem.

The students, including Carroll's two children Alex and Anabell, thought the subject of the school assembly was about the importance of serving in the military.

It didn't take long for Carroll's children to figure out the real message behind the assembly. They shared a long embrace as soon as she walked into the gym.

"I thought she was coming home in three to four weeks," said Alex Carroll, Joana's son.

Joana Carroll said her leave was especially hard on her daughter.

"My daughter has been pretty emotional. She stopped talking to me a couple of weeks ago because she didn't want to make me sad," Joana Carroll said.

But when they reunited, Joana Carroll's daughter didn't hesitate to run into her mother's arms again.

Now that she's back, Joana Carroll said she's looking forward to some long-awaited family time.

"I haven't seen them in nine months," she said. "I came home for 10 days before - in the last year, I've seen them 10 days."

After missing out on the holidays together last year, the family now plans to make up for it this week.

"I'm about to pass out. This is a dream. It's like Christmas," Alex Carroll said.

The Carroll family will spend the next three months together before their mom heads overseas again.

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