National Guardsman comes home, surprises son

May 1, 2013 3:30:46 PM PDT
An Illinois National Guard unit returning from Kuwait received an emotional welcome home on Wednesday. One returning soldier had a very special surprise for his young son.

Sgt. Timothy Gleason celebrated his 38th birthday with a homecoming he and his family will never forget. Gleason surprised his 5-year-old son at school.

Prior to the school surprise, Gleason returned to Midway Airport's Army support facility with over 170 Illinois Army National Guard soldiers.

"We've been through this before," said Gleason. "The real hero is the wife."

"It's been a blur," said Katie Gleason, Timothy's wife. "I can't say if it's been fast or slow. The four little ones kept me on my toes, kept me happy."

The Gleason's oldest son didn't make the homecoming at Midway Airport. Five-year-old T.J. was back at his South Elgin school waiting with all of his classmates, holding signs, wearing red, white and blue.

The entire school came out to give Sgt. Gleason a hero's welcome. T.J. didn't know his dad was coming home Wednesday.

"This day is special for me for lots of reasons," said Sgt. Gleason. "I wanted him in the hangar earlier, but I wanted something to make him special."

"It's awesome," T.J. said.

T.J. was born during his father's first deployment over five years ago. Sgt. Gleason is hoping his duty in Kuwait is his last deployment.

For now, the father of four plans to catch up with his wife and kids by taking them camping for a week.

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