The ultimate Mother's Day surprise - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The ultimate Mother's Day surprise

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Dana Hughey - bio | email

WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - Technical Sergeant John Smithdorff knew he was going to be celebrating Mother's Day with his family. But, he didn't know that the group 'Welcome Home Soldiers' and half of the neighborhood would be there to greet him as well. Smithdorff's mother calls his return home the ultimate Mother's Day present.

Tech. Sergeant John Smithdorff returned from his third tour of duty in Iraq three weeks ago. So, when he pulled into his parent's driveway this afternoon to celebrate Mother's Day, you can imagine the surprise of seeing half of his neighborhood lined-up along his driveway, thanking him for his service.

"It makes you really thankful that you're actually home," said Tech. Sergeant Smithdorff. "People come out and support you like this and you know you're doing the right thing."

His mother wanted this to be a special Mother's Day. Her son is back home and she says that's all she could have asked for.

"Oh, it's just fantastic," said Pat Smithdorff. "It's really wonderful. It's the best gift you could have is have your family around you."

Tech. Sergeant Smithdorff comes from a family of immigrants rich in military history. His father fought for 30 years in the Rhodesian Air Force, the country now known as Zimbabwe.

"When we go to meet him or take him back to the base for deployment," said Mark Smithdorff. "It brings back lots of memories."

Mark Smithdorff says he is proud of his son and his service. But, he adds that John gets no special treatment.

"It's when are you going to cut the lawn."

"Yea, I come home and I've got chores," said Tech. Sergeant Smithdorff.

It is a mother's day the Smithdorff's will cherish for the days to come.

"She's just a great mom, and I wouldn't want any other. That's all I know," said Tech. Sergeant Smithdorff.

This is Tech. Sergeant Smithdoff's fifth deployment overseas. He has served in Kuwait, Saudia Arabia and Germany as an aircraft mechanic.

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