For military families, moments spent together are never taken for granted. The everyday blessings — hugs, kisses, movie nights, bedtime stories — that most families have grown so used to are treasured and remembered for months by both children and parents separated by lengthy deployments.
Jacob Stock, a U.S. Navy petty officer and father of two, couldn’t wait to be reunited with his family in Farmingville, New York, this week, after over a year away from them while he was stationed in Bahrain.
“It makes it difficult because I get to see them, and then know I’m separated by 6,000 miles, but yet I can talk to them and interact with them,” he told.
Stock and his wife, Kelly, knew they wanted to do something special for their kids once it was time for Stock to finally come home.
Lynwood Avenue Elementary School principal, Danielle DeLorenzo, readily agreed to help plan the surprise, and the school made arrangments to hold a special assembly, all about empathy and kindness.
Prior to the gathering, Andrew and Ava Stock were told that they were about to be honored for their good example to the other students, WLNY reported.
Little did they know that a special guest was waiting behind the scenes to help them celebrate.
Principal DeLorenzo brought the two children up onstage in front of the school. Ava, a fourth-grade student, and Andrew, A kindergartener, stood politely as DeLorenzo recognized them for their leadership.
“Due to your courage and strength you’ve displayed here at Lynwood, we are so happy to present you with a very special moment,” the principal said.
At this moment, the curtain was drawn back and Stock stepped out from backstage.
“Dad!” Ava shouted, racing to leap into her father’s arms. Andrew quickly followed and Stock wrapped both kids in an emotional bear hug.
“It’s one of the most memorable moments being a principal, to see members of our family reunited together,” DeLorenzo said.
Stock has served in the Navy for 10 years, completing multiple tours during this time. The serviceman is also an officer at the Suffolk County Police Department when he is not overseas.
“I love my children very much, obviously. I don’t want to let them go, either, but I have my duty to my country, and I enjoy that,” he told.