As Bay Elementary students gathered on the playground Monday, to await the arrival of a special mystery guest adults continued to do their job of keeping the secret that Sergeant Thomas McCoy was moments away from surprising his two sons.
"We had to make sure we reminded teachers constantly not to say anything in front of any of the children because we were concerned with the children sharing it with the boys" said Bay Elementary Principal Dianne Hicks.
"Once we found out he was going to be coming home during the school year my first thought was let's surprise the kids at school" said Amanda McCoy.
Sergeant McCoy's wife Amanda says it's been difficult not having the entire family together.
"It's like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and having us all back. The sadness that just kind of lingers over you, you know over the kids and all of us and just having him. I mean just the smiles on everyone's face is just a huge weight lifted" said Amanda McCoy.
"This is the official change of command. I am now not the dad anymore I’m going back to being grandfather and i think that to me that sums it up" said Grandfather Dan Marcinkowski.
As for Sergeant McCoy he describes the moment he saw his kids as an out of body experience.
"Slow motion. I couldn't hear much of anything. I made eye contact with them and started walking toward them and just trying to scoop them both up with both arms. Past that I’m kind of oblivious to everything else that's going on around me" said Sgt. Thomas McCoy.
After the celebration ended it was back in the limo for a full day of family time ahead. McCoy was awarded a bronze star during his first deployment to Iraq. He's assigned to the Army National Guard's 8-70th Engineering Company out of Crestview.