BLUE ROCK, Ohio – Family members recorded the precious moment when a military father surprised his young daughters after returning from deployment in Afghanistan.
Sergeant First Class Terry Gottke, a National Guardsman, was stationed in Afghanistan for the last year and returned home over Easter weekend, according to KTVU. Brittany Gottke said his absence had taken a toll on the girls, with the oldest suffering from unspecified health issues while he was gone.
Gottke and his wife are both firefighters. To pull off the surprise, Gottke pulled up to his family’s home in a Wayne County fire truck wearing fire gear to make sure his daughters, Tawny and Brea would not recognize him.
The video shows a firefighter, his face covered by his helmet, walk over to the girls and kneel. Others can be heard jokingly asking the girls, “Did you start that fire?”
As soon as he pulls off his helmet and black liner, the girls immediately shout “Daddy!” and embrace him, their giddy excitement quickly turning to tears.
At the end of the video, Gottke smiles at his daughters and says, “I don’t have to go back.”