CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Thursday’s assembly at a Pennsylvania elementary school started like any other.
With plenty of excitement as kids were let out of class and funneled into the gym.
Among them, kindergartener Sophie Zeigler who’s dad as far as she knew, was abroad serving in Afghanistan.
The last time she saw him was five months ago. A long time, especially for a kindergartner.
The assembly was a guessing game: students were called up and given clues for what hero was behind door number one, two, and three.
When the time came for door number three, Sophie was called up front and shown asked to guess who would come out.
She was right, it was an army man, but not the one she was expecting.
After a long embrace, Staff Sergeant John Zeigler couldn’t take his eyes off his little girl.
The hardest part for him, the wait, was over.
“I was more nervous today than I jump out of an airplane,” said SSgt John Zeigler, 82nd Airborne Division.
For Sophie, it wasn’t nerves, but the happiest of shocks.
“They feel proud for me,” said Sophie Ziegler: Daughter.
“I think it sends a good message that hey if you want to join the army, you can serve this great nation and help out in the community and bring a smile upon a kid’s face,” said Sgt Zeigler.
“What are you gonna do with him now that he’s home? Do stuff with him like games!”
Come this February; they’ll be time for a lot more games when dad leaves the army taking a job back home, giving him even more time to spend back home with his family and little girl.