Soldier's surprise homecoming for daughter's graduation


riday marked the last day of school for many area students.

In fact, Crestview Elementary's kindergarten class had their graduation ceremony Friday.

But it was made even more special for one little girl, who's father, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, made it home in time to surprise her.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Zachary Chand spent about an hour waiting behind the stage while his daughter, Ava was singing and celebrating her graduation with her classmates.

But it wouldn't be long before father and daughter were reunited after being apart for 13 months, when he delivered her diploma to her.

An emotional reunion, not a dry eye in the audience.

"The anticipation was really killing me. I was ready to just run out onto the stage, but it was worth the wait," said Staff Sgt. Chand.

A surprise reunion to all, even his family.

"It was emotional and I still can't get over it," said Nisar Chand, Soldier's dad.

For Staff Sgt. Chand, he could not be more proud of his daughter.

"It makes me extremely proud. My children have to deal with a lot more than your typical child, so it's definitely a blessing and to say that I'm proud of them is an understatement. It's hard being away from family for about 13 months but this is what makes it all worth it right here, just being able to hold my kids in my arms again," said Staff Sgt. Chand.

As for Ava, she's proud of her daddy.

He'll be home for 45 days leave before heading back to Afghanistan. He says he's looking forward to spending every moment with Ava and her younger brother.

As for Ava, she asked her dad to take her to see Justin Bieber.