Soldier's homecoming surprises children

Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools

 “DADDY!” – That was the one word reaction from Garrett Wilson when his father, Staff Sgt. Joshua Wilson of the Kentucky National Guard, walked into Garrett’s fifth grade classroom at Graves County Central Elementary School recently, two days ahead of schedule.

At left: Looking on were Garrett’s sisters, 6-year-old first grader Maddy and 3-year-old Kelsey. Their mother, Gretchen Wilson was standing behind her husband and holding their younger daughter. Joshua Wilson had just completed a six-month deployment of military service in Iraq, where he has spent much of the past two years.

Principal Stephanie Sullivan and Maddy’s teacher, Kate Gay, worked with Gretchen Wilson to make the homecoming a learning experience for all of the school’s 430 students as well as a surprise for the Wilson children.

Central students lined the hallways, many with signs, thanking Joshua Wilson for his service and chanting alternately “U-S-A” and “Welcome home!” Maddy told reporters covering the event that she wanted to catch her dad up on her most recent Girl Scout activities. Garrett said he couldn’t wait to play basketball with his dad when they got home.

(Photo by Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools)