Army National Guard mom surprises daughter at Hampton Elementary - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Army National Guard mom surprises daughter at Hampton Elementary School

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In the Lowcountry, a Hampton Elementary student got an early Christmas gift Wednesday afternoon.

Her mother, Army SFC Shondraya Holliday, returned home from Afghanistan and surprised her at school.

They couldn't let go of each other once they reunited.

Both mother and daughter cried as they hugged for the first time in almost 10 months.

"I missed her a lot because this is very new to me. She'd been deployed before when I was a baby so I don't remember that," said daughter Acacia Miller.  

"It was the best feeling. It was the best feeling seeing my baby girl," said Shondraya Holliday, who was surprised by how much her daughter has changed.

"She's so tall! She's so tall, she'll be taller than me soon!"

Born and raised in Varnvillle, this was Shondraya's first deployment to Afghanistan.

"It's no words, just being in the United States period, it's a blessing. I'm so happy to be home," she said.

It's been a long ten months for Shondraya and her family but thanks to modern technology, she was able to see them every night before bedtime from Afghanistan.

"I have four children and I can't imagine being separated from them so it just makes me truly honor this mom who's been serving her country and been away from her daughter," said Hampton Elementary School Principal Bonnie Wilson.

When asked about what her mother means to her, Acacia had a quick answer:

"She gave me all this! She tries to do everything for me to give me everything I want."

Now the only thing the Hollidays want is to spend this holiday season together as a family again.

Shondraya Holliday serves with the 122nd Engineer Battalion in Edgefield, South Carolina.

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