ASHFORD, Ala. (WDHN) — It’s a story you will only see on WDHN, a soldier and father returns to the Wiregrass after being deployed in the Middle East for an entire year.

WDHN’s Anchor Katrice Nolan shows us the ultimate gift the navy soldier gave to all nine of his children today.

With the opening of a curtain, a soldier surprises his son at Ashford Elementary on Monday.

Tears of joy flowed, as nine year old David hugged his dad. It’s the reunion planned by Staff Sergeant Daniel Mizell’s wife, Princess Mizell. The return of the blended family that’s been in the making for a year.

“I was excited I couldn’t even sleep last night,” Princess said. “I was like ‘it’s the day, we’re fixing to go and surprise them’ and in my mind, I’m like, okay who gonna cry.”

And they all did.

Over at Ashford High School a similar surprise for the couple’s 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son’s.

A moment of shock at first to process what was happening.

“I was very confused, did not know what was going on,” 14 year old daughter, Sienna Cockerham said.

And then more tears and hugs.

“We all did miss him, but it was very hard not seeing him everyday, we we’re used to seeing him everyday,” Sienna Cockerham said.

Something that Staff Sergeant Daniel Mizell says he never got used to every night being deployed.

“It was difficult not being able to talk to them all the times,” Sergeant Mizell said. “But it made work easier not being able to talk to them as much, it made me more focused and able to work hard to get home to them safely.”

Safely home and reunited with all nine children, ranging in ages 4 to 14, a family looking forward to making memories for a lifetime.

Although the Mizell family members say they are happy to have their dad home, they also know if duty were to call again he would have to go serve.