WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW)— Friday was picture day at Grant Elementary and 9-year-old Gracie Ringer along with her classmates thought they were lining up outside to take a class picture.
Gracie had no idea the cameras would be focusing on her.
Her dad Sgt. Sean Ringer with the U.S. Army has just finished his duties in Afghanistan and wanted his homecoming to be memorable for his little girl.
As Gracie was outside listening to Principal Tom Bruns talking to her classmates, the Grand Rapids Fire Department truck shows up.
Gracie's dad was in that truck, and as he stepped out Gracie ran to her dad.
It was the first time in a year Gracie got to see her dad.
"When did you come here, where did you stay," asked Gracie as she wiped away happy tears.
It was an embrace one year in the making.
"It was really hard. I missed him a lot I missed fishing with him and doing projects; it was hard," Gracie said.
"It was hard knowing everyone back home was struggling with the new changes, and with COVID it made it harder," said Sgt. Sean Ringer.
"It was hard. We made it through, we found things to do, and we had it," said mom Tiffany Ringer.
Now that dad is back, Gracie has a whole list of things for them to do together.
"Eat a snack, eat a morning meal, play barbies, go outside, play soccer," Gracie said.
While the family is happy to be back together it was one picture day Gracie will never forget.
Sgt. Ringer is home for good, he and his wife Tiffany want to give a huge thank you to Grant Elementary and everyone involved for helping them pull off this special surprise.