Military father surprises daughters at school - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Military father surprises daughters at school

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EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

A surprise homecoming happened just in time for Memorial Day.

A member of the Georgia Air National Guard's 117th Air control Squadron surprised his daughters on Friday in Effingham County.

It took weeks of planning and a lot of secrecy, but the Horton family said it was worth it as their three daughters were individually surprised by their father today.

On the last day of school, Maegan Horton thought she was just about to watch the talent show, but it kicked off with a huge surprise. Her father, Master Sgt. Ray Horton, came home just in time for the last day of school after a six month deployment.

"It is wonderful," said Master Sgt. Horton. "Being gone six months and missing Christmas and New Year's and birthday that happened, just being away, this is a homecoming you dream of."

When Master Sgt. Horton saw his baby girl running his way, emotion overwhelmed him.

"[It] brought tears to my eyes," he said. "I can't lie, this is my baby daughter, so it was a rush of emotions."

And the tears wouldn't stop there. Soon after, he arrived at Effingham County High School to surprise his other daughters, but his eldest, Hannah, found him first.

"I was sitting on the floor and I saw a uniform walk by and I had a feeling he was here," she said.

Then the family went to find the middle daughter, Emily, who was in such shock, she couldn't even hug her father at first.

"I thought he was coming back next week," she said.

"It was just awesome," said Master Sgt. Horton. "It fills your heart with joy to see the happiness that you get to see coming home after a deployment like this. Just getting to see their reactions and knowing how much they miss me, and I miss them during this time. It is just heartfilling."

"Priceless," said Martha Horton, the girls' mother. "Made it all worth it."

It wasn't easy for Martha to keep the whole surprise a secret.

"I had to tell fibs to my kids, and I told them he wasn't coming home for a week," she said.

The Horton family plans on spending this Memorial Day together celebrating their dad's homecoming and spending much needed time on a family vacation.

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