Soldier surprises daughter at Veteran’s Day school assembly

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ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE)- It was a very special surprise for a New Mexico seventh-grader at her school’s Veterans Day assembly.

The 13-year-old girl thought she was just answering questions for the audience, but what happened next left the whole crowd in tears.

The Veterans Day assembly at Sierra Middle School in Roswell was filled with music and presentations as students and staff recognized local vets.

One moment at the end of the assembly would take the whole crowd by surprise and no one was more surprised than 7th grader Gema Valadez.

She thought she had been called in front of all her classmates to answer questions about her mom who is deployed in Iraq but the school had something else in mind.

When Gema was answering the question about what she would say to her mother if she was here, her mom walked in. Gema immediately ran into her mother’s arms.

The entire crowd erupted, giving the two a standing ovation

Gema says she never expected it.

“I don’t know it was just a shock,” said Gema.

Geema’s mom, Ruby Calzada, has been serving overseas for the Army since January and had been planning the surprise with the school.

“It was great it couldn’t have come at an even better time, Veterans Day. She mentioned to me that they were going to be doing something at the school and I was like that is perfect timing,” said Calzada.

Calzada says its hard leaving her family for so long.

“I say it all the time I don’t think it’s gonna be that hard and when you’re out there it’s like a normal day and then the days go on and the months go on, it’s just it’s really hard,” said Calzada.

Gema’s mom says that keeping the secret of her home-coming from her family was very difficult but worth it in the end.

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