When Washington Township School 6th grader Madison Tsotigh sat down for her study hall class on Thursday, she had no idea a very special person was going to give her a big surprise. As she looked down at her homework, Tsotigh felt a hand on her back. When she turned around, she saw her mother for the first time in seven months.
When the two hugged, the teary-eyed 6th grader didn’t want to let go of her camo-clad mom.
“I am so thankful to be home before Christmas this year,” Sherri Wiser, human resources technician for the military, said.
Wiser, who has served for 26 years, was deployed in Ukraine for a year and only saw her daughter for short deployment breaks and via Facetime.
“I was really happy to surprise her before she found me,” Wiser said.
Tsotigh said she was absolutely surprised, and looked up at her mom mid-hug.
“You owe me food,” she said, referencing their special sushi Saturday and Christmas cookie traditions.
This was the first-time Washington Township School saw such a reunion, according to Terri Barkas, school secretary. Barkas said the student’s grandmother called last week and set up the whole affair.
“This has never happened here,” Barkas said. “We’re pretty excited about this. Every time I talk about it I get-I think it’s just emotional for all of us.”
For Principal Sup Lipinski, the reunion hit close to home as she has a son in the service.
“This is a first for us, and it’s exciting for the kids to all be able to see this,” Lipinski said. “To be an eye-witness to someone who serves.”
This week, the mother and daughter plan to go decoration sight-seeing in their hometown of Norman, Okla., and eating Christmas cookies for breakfast, just like in years past.