SANDUSKY, Ohio -- An Amherst family got quite a surprise at their favorite vacation spot and no one saw it coming, except for dad, who is Gunnery Sergeant Jason Cooper of the United States Marine Corps.
"This is the first time I've ever done anything like this," Cooper, 37, said.
Sgt. Cooper has been serving in the Marine Corps for 18 years. He was deployed to NSA Bahrain and hasn't seen his family in person since February.
"Every year we go on vacation here to Cedar Point," Cooper said. "Every summer, so it's a location my family is familiar with, a location they love to go to and that is where it all came together."
Cooper's wife Lisa, their two sons, 12-year-old Ethan and 9-year-old Jaydan, and daughter, 5-year-old Mikayla, enjoyed the entire day at Cedar Point. They were told they were being honored as part of an American Heroes Tribute.
"I thought it would be something fun to do with my family, a nice surprise," said Cooper.
The Coopers were called up on a stage to be honored in front of all the guests at the amusement park. They got to see their dad and husband like they have so many times before, via video.
And after a month and a half of planning and coordinating with Cedar Point, it was a surprise no one saw coming. Jason Cooper was actually at Cedar Point to reunite with his family.
"I didn't have my glasses on," Lisa said. "I was kind of squinting and was like oh my gosh is that really him, I'm really glad to see him."
"Back to normal," said Mikayla.
"Just happy to be able to hold my daughter and hug my sons and give my wife a kiss and tell her I'm home for a while," Cooper said.
Jason flew in Thursday morning and will remain at home with his family for the next 15 days.
"I never thought in a million years he would be here at Cedar Point," said Lisa.
The Coopers will be spending their first day reunited at Cedar Point.