1010 WINS– When 12-year-old JaiceyBelle Hunter arrived at her Texas middle school on November 13th, she thought she was there to take part in and celebrate a local food drive. Little did she know she was there to celebrate her military mom coming home!

U.S. Army Sgt. Lacey Poltoratskiy had just completed her first tour of duty in Kuwait and wanted to find the perfect way to surprise her children upon her return. Expecting to be home closer to Thanksgiving, Poltoratskiy arrived slightly early on Sunday the 12th and quickly reached out to her children’s principals at two different schools in order to set up her surprises.

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(Screengrab: Facebook.com/midwayisd)

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Just a few hours before surprising her daughter JaiceyBelle, Poltoratskiy dropped in on her five-year-old son Daxton’s Elementary School where she was announced as a “surprise guest speaker.” As soon as she walked through the door, Daxton yelled “mommy!”

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Next up was JaiceyBelle’s turn. Poltoratskiy dressed up as Midway Middle School‘s panther mascot and stood patiently waiting beside her daughter as a teacher made a small speech about the faux food drive. After nine months away from JaiceyBelle, Poltoratskiy could hardly keep herself from embracing her daughter, but the surprise was worth the wait.

Finally, as soon as Poltoratskiy removed the panther’s head, JaiceyBelle realized her mother was home and the tears started flowing. “This is my mother, and she’s here,” JaiceyBelle said. “And now you’ve seen me cry like a small, little child.”

By the looks of JaiceyBelle’s reaction, we think Sgt. Poltoratskiy nailed it! Welcome home!

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-Joe Cingrana