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School assembly has big twist in form of soldier's return | News

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School assembly has big twist in form of soldier's return

LAS VEGAS -- Call it a school assembly with a big twist -- because that's exactly what one student and teacher at Iverson Elementary received Thursday.

It all started with a visit from a big red bird in celebration of the students achieving and meeting their reading goals. However, underneath the fluffy red feathers there was an even bigger surprise.

Air Force Master Sergeant Adam D'Anthony had been serving in Afghanistan as a meteorologist for about seven months, but now he was home, and he wanted to surprise his family. What better way to do that than to dress as Red Robin? It took two months of preparation to carry out the sweet “covert” mission.

"I tend to come up with different surprises for my wife and kids, so this was just the next one,” D'Anthony said.

As D'Anthony's wife and other kindergarten teachers congratulated their students for being reading stars, she didn't have a clue she was about to get the surprise of her life.

When D'Anthony removed the costume, there was a scream and tears of joys from his wife, and gleeful yells of “daddy” from his little girl.

"Daddy's home,” Kelley D'Anthony said happily.

After a heartbeat of surprise, seven months of worry and frustration ended in an instant.

"The heart kind of stops for a second because you don't see them in person for a while," D'Anthony said as he choked up with emotion.

"It's over now. It's like a huge weight is gone. I'm so happy he's home," Kelley said as she dried her tears and kissed her husband.

D'Anthony's childhood friend, who just happens to be the principal of Iverson Elementary, helped with the plan the surprise. Kelley, who was secretly trying to plan her own surprise for the return of her husband, was none-the-wiser.

“She didn't realize we were planning an assembly on the side in order to surprise her,” said Linnea Westwood, Iverson Elementary Principal.

When 8 News NOW asked Kelley where this latest surprised ranked on the list of surprises D'Anthony's done in the past, she said, "Number one! Hands down, number one!"

Master Sergeant D'Anthony has about six years left until he can retire from the military. He said it's likely that he will have to be deployed again, but for now all he wants to do is focus on the now.