‘I’m so excited’ local second grader reunited with father after deployment

Panama City

YOUNGSTOWN, Fla. (WMBB)– A second-grader got the surprise of a lifetime this afternoon at her school Waller Elementary, Monday afternoon.

Eight-year-old Ansleigh Long thought she was heading into her class for a snack when she got the surprise she never expected.

Her dad, Staff Sgt. Dustin Long walked into class to surprise her. Ansleigh had not seen her dad in a year due to his deployment.

Ansleigh was overwhelmed with emotion and excitement her dad was finally home.

“I’m so excited. I was so sad I had not seen him for a whole year,” she said.

Likewise, Sgt. Long’s wife, Casey, was glad to have him home.

“It was hard being a single mom with three kids. I give credit to all the single parents out there,” Casey said.

The school also recognizes April as the Month of the Military Child, so Sgt. Long was able to present his daughter with a certificate and t-shirt.

Sgt. Long said he is grateful to be back home and credits his wife for holding down the fort back home with three kids under their roof.

It’s just overwhelming with emotion, I’m just grateful, just really grateful, they had a great mom to get them through this,” Sgt. Long said.

After the family left Waller elementary, they made their way to Deane Bozeman school to surprise Ansleigh’s 12-year-old brother, Bryce.

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