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Alabama military dad surprises daughters at Spanish Fort Elementary

<i>WALA</i><br/>Lt. Junior Grade Richard Sweeney has been deployed overseas for six months supporting Navy operations in the South China Sea. He just flew in and in the last two days has been planning to surprise his daughters -- Clarissa and Scarlett who are in third grade and kindergarten at Spanish Fort Elementary.
WALA
WALA
Lt. Junior Grade Richard Sweeney has been deployed overseas for six months supporting Navy operations in the South China Sea. He just flew in and in the last two days has been planning to surprise his daughters -- Clarissa and Scarlett who are in third grade and kindergarten at Spanish Fort Elementary.

By LEE PECK

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    SPANISH FORT, Alabama (WALA) — A very special homecoming for a military dad as he surprised his daughters at Spanish Fort Elementary.

Lt. Junior Grade Richard Sweeney has been deployed overseas for six months supporting Navy operations in the South China Sea. He just flew in and in the last two days has been planning to surprise his daughters — Clarissa and Scarlett who are in third grade and kindergarten at Spanish Fort Elementary.

So they wouldn’t be suspicious – the school planned an impromptu parade in front of the school, where the students lined the drive. While the students waved American Flags and held patriotic signs — most thought it was just part of this week’s Toro’s Homecoming festivities.

That was until Principal Waverly Boutin did the “big reveal!”

“Boys and girls — thank you so much!!! You have done such a wonderful job welcoming our special visitor. He has been away on active duty since April. But you know what he says he thinks he knows a couple of our students…. so does anybody know who this is,” said Boutin.

Immediately after Sweeney stepped off the red, white, and blue decorated golf cart — his daughters came running into his arms — first Clarissa then Scarlett.

There were hugs and tears and lots of cheers from students, teachers, and staff during the emotional reunion.

“I think when I saw Clarissa’s face and then Scarlett’s light up… I wasn’t prepared for that. I don’t think you ever could be,” said Sweeney.

“Clarissa: I thought my brain just went boom — I don’t know what to think. Lee: And then you just ran to him? What did that feel like? — Clarissa: It felt amazing.”

“This is not my first deployment… So it never gets any easier, but it never gets any more special seeing them for the first time when I get back,” said Sweeney.

Taking a victory lap with dad on the golf cart — the girls were not letting him out of their sight and look forward to catching up on lost time.

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