Soldier surprises daughter at school after yearlong tour overseas

A soldier from Mississippi had a heartwarming and memorable homecoming Wednesday.

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Sgt. Joshua Stokes, of the Mississippi National Guard, surprised his 8-year-old daughter in her classroom after a yearlong tour overseas.

Shelby Stokes had no idea what was coming. As far as she knew, her dad had five more weeks of deployment in Kuwait.

The separation was tough for the whole family, but WHBQ-TV was there as Stokes gave his daughter the surprise of a lifetime at DeSoto Central Primary School in Mississippi.

Classmates, teachers and reporters looked on as Stokes approached Shelby from behind and tapped her on the shoulder. She thought she was getting in trouble, but then she quickly realized her father had come home.

"I thought it was a teacher. But it wasn't. It was Daddy," Shelby said.

Shelby jumped into her father’s arms, and the two embraced.

"I'm just happy to see my girl," Stokes said.

The soldier and his family are heading for some long-overdue time at home.

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