Valley soldier returns home, surprises kids at school


Sgt. Michael Sory deployed for Afghanistan last May and hasn't seen his three children in almost a year. His wife, Samara, wanted to surprise the kids when he returned and asked Los Banos Elementary to help welcome Sgt. Sory home.

The school organized an assembly honoring troops overseas and called 7-year-old Jocelyn and her brother, 12-year-old Damani, to the stage to say the Pledge of Allegiance. That's when their father came out to join them.

"I had to turn away. I was crying before he even came out. It was just so much emotion," said Samara Sory. "I knew how excited they were. I had just talked to my daughter yesterday and she said, 'When I see my dad in 10 days, I'm going to cry.'"

"For a minute I was like, wait, it couldn't be true," said Damani Johnson. "I looked at Jocelyn for a minute, and then he opened his arms, and I just jumped."

Damani and Jocelyn didn't think they'd see their dad for another week when they'd meet up with him in San Diego. They're now looking forward to spending time with their father and having their family back together again.

Sgt. Sory is now on leave until the end of April when he will go back to his civilian job. Also, Michael and Samara just celebrated their eighth anniversary together last weekend.

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