Soldier surprises son at Jackson school - - Jackson, MS

Soldier surprises son at Jackson school

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With a sign reading 'welcome home' and a gradually growing crowd of excited spectators, everything came to a stop for a few nail-biting minutes Friday outside First Presbyterian Day School in Jackson.

Students, teachers, moms and dads waited on pins and needles for 7-year-old Roman Hilliker to round the corner and see his mom, an Army National Guard soldier just back from a one-year deployment.

Then, the moment happened.

A child overwhelmed by the homecoming of a parent and reassurance after a year of uncertainty.

"We just had a few things we had to take care of before I came to my baby. Now we're gonna go home and spend some time together," said Sgt. Jennifer Hilliker.

"I didn't know she was gonna be here. I thought she'd be here like tomorrow," Roman said.

Jennifer's husband, Sam Hilliker, had a reunion too.

"We just met in the parking lot a half hour ago!" Sam Hilliker said. 

Sam said the family communicated every chance they got as Jennifer served in Afghanistan.

"Talking on Skype. No video because the bandwidth is too small. We just got to talk an awful lot. She'd get up at 4:30 to call us at 8:00 at night," Sam said.

Schoolmates were watching, cheering and enhancing the celebration.

"I thought it was awesome for him to meet his mother again," said 4th grader Victoria Nowell.

"I thought it was very sweet, she surprised him like that," said Alice Ann Hollingsworth, a 5th grader.

The family is planning a trip to Disney World in the coming months.

"There's a lot of good stuff there. I think we're going to Universal," Roman said. 

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