85ºF

Army soldier surprises 6-year-old daughter at school

1st-grader hadn't seen her dad in months after he was deployed to Iraq

INTERLACHEN, Fla. – One first-grader at Interlachen Elementary School received an extra-special surprise during lunch Thursday.

It was a visit from her father, Army Staff Sgt. Devin Monroe, whom she hadn’t seen since he had been deployed to Iraq in August.

Allison Monroe knew there’d be a treat during lunch. But when a man walked into the classroom with pizza, the 6-year-old thought that was it.

But it wasn’t.

The real surprise was when the 6-year-old's father walked through the door.

She then hugged her dad, then hugged him some more while wiping away tears. Allison said she couldn’t believe who it was.

“I didn’t see him in a very long time,” Allison said.

Monroe, who’s served in the Army for nearly 11 years, said he originally didn’t plan to surprise her daughter like this. But now, he and his family -- including his wife, Allyn Monroe, and their other 3-year-old daughter, M.J. Monroe -- are all glad he did.

“It’s special because she’s my first child. She’s daddy’s little girl,” Devin Monroe said.

And what made the moment even more remarkable is the fact that Devin Monroe, who’s a Putnam County native, also attended Interlachen Elementary School. One of his classrooms was right next door to the classroom where he surprised his daughter.

Now the former student is inspiring current students, including his daughter.

“He protects the Army. He protects the states,” Allison said.

Allison said she can’t wait to play outside with her dad. He said he’s looking forward to that as well.

“Just trying to fit the last nine months in. I didn’t get vacation time or anything like that. So whatever the girls want to do, we’re just going to go make up for lost time,” Monroe said.

The daddy-daughter duo is now looking to making new memories, beginning with one moment that they’ll never forget.