WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - A Central Florida father who has been deployed for nine months gave his son the surprise of a lifetime at his Winter Garden school Friday.
U.S. Navy Lt. Steve Phillips has been stationed in the Middle East for nine months. Lt. Phillips surprised his sons, Chase and Jack, during an assembly at Whispering Oak Elementary.
"I cried because I just didn’t want him to leave," Chase told FOX 35 News.
Chase had previously told his mother, Julie, that he has always wanted his dad to walk into his school with his uniform. On Friday, he got the heartwarming reunion he’s been waiting for. FOX 35 was there for the homecoming. When he’s not serving our country, Lt. Phillips works at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
"For my second family to be here with the Sheriff’s Office is just icing on the cake. I appreciate it," Lt. Phillips said.
Sheriff John Mina also had a surprise up his sleeve on Friday, as Sheriff Mina and other fellow officers were there for the special homecoming.
"We were all to come and share in this joyous occasion and be a part of it, and say hello to him and thank him," Sheriff Mina said..
Lt. Phillips will be home for the holidays with his wife and two children, something Chase said makes him "super, duper, duper, duper happy!" All he wants to do now that his hero is back home is stay by his side.
"Hug him until life is over!" he said.