Sgt. Michael Leone, deployed with the 181st Infantry Regiment of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, donned a Rockland (Massachusetts) Bulldog costume in order to surprise his three sons at R. Stewart Esten Elementary School on December 6.
This footage from Rockland Public Schools shows the three Leone boys, Nathan, age 5, Tyler, age 8, and Tolan, age 6, at “what was believed to be a routine assembly.” The mascot approached the boys, removed the head and pulled off the surprise. The boys immediately recognized and hugged their dad.
Leone has been deployed to the Djibouti-Somalia border since February.
“People were screaming, teachers were crying, everything played out exactly how I had hoped,” Principal Marilyn Smith said in a release sent to Storyful. “We have a tradition at this school of supporting our veterans for everything they do, so to be able to have an event like this really meant a lot.” Credit: Rockland Public Schools via Storyful