HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — After a year away from her son, a deployed soldier from Alabama found a creative way to surprise her boy at school in an emotional moment that brought tears to the eyes of other students.
Chaffee Elementary School fifth-graders gathered in the cafeteria Friday morning to work on a history project with former NASA engineers. Little did they know, one of the many faces in the room, Kael Lancey's, would soon be beaming above the rest.
Kael's mom, Sgt. Desiree Lancey, has been deployed to Kuwait for the past year. They haven't seen each other since Christmas. She wanted to surprise him at school, so his family and teachers used the school project as the perfect opportunity.
The class thought a WHNT news crew was there to film their project, and Sgt. Lancey disguised herself as the school's mascot.
After the singing of the national anthem, Sgt. Lancey revealed herself. Kael's reaction was perfect — stunned surprise with his mouth agape, then a big hug for his mother as happy tears welled up.
"God is so good," Sgt. Lancey said. "It's rough, but it's worth it. Small sacrifices for a long-term gain."
It was an understandable flood of emotions.
"It's hard being in the military and being away from them so much," she said. "But seeing his face, just that initial ... when I walked in and saw his face, I couldn't breathe and I was so excited. Just bliss."
And when asked what it's like to have his mom back, Kael had no words, just hugs.
"Lots of hugs all weekend right? Okay, good," Sgt. Lancey said.
Kael got checked out of school early so the two could spend some much-deserved time together.