Soldier’s homecoming surprise
Posted on 12/12/2017
Soldier’s homecoming surprise

Sgt. 1st Class Terry White of the Missouri Army National Guard surprised his fifth grade daughter Aaryn Johnson with an early return home on Friday, Dec. 8, during an assembly held as a diversion at the Middle School.

White returned with the 1-138th Infantry Regiment upon being deployed in the Arabian Peninsula of Qatar since February, his fourth tour of duty, according to his wife Alexsa. He last saw Aaryn the day after Christmas of 2016.

“It’s been a long year,” he said simply, following an emotional reunion with his family. 

The students, unknowing, were seated in the cafeteria and began to listen to Assistant Principal Angie Jackson give a speech about expectations when Terry White walked out of the kitchen area from behind Aaryn and tapped her on the shoulder. As soon as it registered who was standing before her through all the commotion of the students reacting, Aaryn gave her dad a welcoming hug. 

“It just makes me feel so special,” said Aaryn, face flush from the excitement, when it occurred the entire assembly was organized for her. The students in Aaryn’s pod were treated to red, white and blue cupcakes before returning to class.

While the family has been able to communicate on occasion this year via FaceTime, according to friend Amanda Gowen, planning was tricky with the nine-hour difference between time zones. 

Gowen commented that Alexsa is an amazing woman, in the process of closing on a new house, working at a correctional facility and volunteering for a youth organization, all the while raising her children as her husband had been overseas serving the country.

Later in the day, the couple surprised their eighth grade son Alex Clinton in a more low-key manner at Junior High. 


Cutline: Seeing her dad Terry White for the first time in about a year, Aaryn gives him a big hug while onlookers cheer.

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