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Tampa school, family plans surprise military reunion ahead of Veterans Day

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Posted at 9:27 PM, Nov 09, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The kids of Ballast Pointe Elementary School have Veterans Day off, but they couldn't leave without paying tribute.

So in front of a crowd of proud parents and loved ones on Tuesday, the kids' choir sang a salute to those who've served and who currently do.

Out of the corner of the room, concertgoers caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a dad, who was running a little late. But Patrick Gonzalez, of the U.S Army, was actually right on time.

He came to surprise one special singer, his daughter Ava, after being deployed in Kuwait. And after a few more songs came the big reveal.

It's something that understandably, caught Ava off guard.

"I was surprised and happy and excited and all those mixed together," she said.

And her little brother Liam? Also speechless.

"I was happy and excited," Liam said.

Patrick tells ABC Action News he's grateful to see his family and to celebrate Ava's birthday this weekend.

"Just a relief. It's amazing to see how much they've grown in the past few months, the past 10 months. It's just amazing to see them in person," said Patrick.

His wife Kyle said it's a surprise that took a lot of planning and a bit of luck.

"We weren't sure when he was going to be coming back until about a day or two before," she said.

Patrick also tells ABC Action News he was called up from the reserves, but has wrapped up his duties in Kuwait and will now return to civilian life.