Two children who are students at Modesto's El Vista Elementary School got surprise visits from the person they least expected and were most thrilled to see Thursday morning:
Manuel Reyes, a 27-year-old U.S. Navy Corpsman, just returned from the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, where he is an emergency room medic.
A native of Idaho, Reyes is on a 15-day pass and will have to return to Afghanistan before Christmas. So they’ll celebrate the holiday early this year.
The children had no idea he would come to their respective classrooms.
He hadn't seen his daughter, second-grader Iycis Reyes, or his stepson, third-grader Bryce Mundell, since deploying overseas seven months ago. Reyes helped raise Mundell since he was three months old.
Reyes previously was assigned to the Sharpe Depot before going to Afghanistan. He expects to be stationed at Everett, Wash., when he rotates back to the states in 2011.
Scroll down to watch video of Reyes surprising his daughter.