Gulfport Seabee makes surprise homecoming for kids -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Gulfport Seabee makes surprise homecoming for kids

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A military family has come up with ways to make long deployments a little easier for the children. Gulfport Seabee Joel Stephens and his wife stopped by 28 Street Elementary on Wednesday to visit their son and daughter. The thing was, the kids had no idea daddy was home.

A lot has happened since six-year-old Josiah's father deployed to Guam. He started kindergarten, and is learning to read. He's wishing his dad were here to see it all.

"I wish he could come back and play with me with the Power Rangers," said Josiah.

Down the hall, Josiah's sister Imani, a second grader, was also missing dad. What the children didn't know was their father was not only back from overseas, but at their school to make a surprise visit.

Joel Stephens said, "It feels good to know your kids still remember you while you're gone. and still miss you."

Along with Josiah and Imani, Joel Stephens and his wife also have three-year-old twins.

"I kind of keep him in the loop on things. Let him know what's going on," said Alenda Stephens. "We keep in contact. Try to let them write letters or talk to him on FaceTime. Kind of make it seem like he's still in the picture, but he's just away at work. And then when daddy gets back into the routine, we don't change anything. "

The Stephens let Josiah and Imani check out of school early and the whole family went to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate.

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