VERNON, CT (WFSB) – A kindergartener in Vernon had not seen her father in about eight months.

Monday morning, Gabriella Flint received a big surprise at her school.

David Flint surprised her at the Lake Street School.

“I was so anxious coming around the corner, but I didn’t want to tear up,” David Flint said. “It’s emotional. These guys mean a lot to me and I get to be around them.”

He had been deployed in Jordan since February as a member of the U.S. Army.

He returned home Sunday night, but hid in the basement so he could surprise his daughter and son on Monday. 

“Today was special. It’s awesome that the school let me do this especially with the pandemic going on. They made arrangements with my family. Today was a good day,” Flint said. 

Gabriella was taken outside with her class for the 10 a.m. visit.

This is the first time Lake Street School held a surprise like this, but it also has a special meaning to the school’s principal, so she jumped at the chance to do it. 

“As a military brat, my father was in the Coast Guard, my brother in the Army. Deployments are very familiar to my family and we understand the sacrifices families go through. TO see a family member coming home safe and sharing that makes us proud,” said Tracy Duenzl, Lake Street School Principal. 

Sgt. First Class Flint will be home until after the holidays. 

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