Heartwarming Homecoming: Military Mom Surprises Daughter

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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio-- A heartwarming reunion at an elementary school in Willoughby.

A Navy officer mom returning from deployment overseas, surprised her daughter during lunch.

"It's overwhelming. I'm still trying to get used to being in the United States after nine months away, and to come back and see my children," cried Petty Officer 2nd Class Ciara Cook with the United States Navy.

Cook hasn't seen her children in almost a year, so she decided to surprise her eight-year-old daughter, Destiny, at Edison Elementary School, Friday morning.

While Destiny ate grilled cheese and tomato soup during lunch at school, little did she know who was behind her.

There were tears as Petty Officer Cook hugged Destiny for what seemed like forever.

"I am most thankful for my mom," said Destiny.

"If I could sit here and tell you everything I'm thankful for, it would be such a long list.  But most of all, I'm thankful for my family that has supported me in my career," said Petty Officer Cook.

"Every moment is a teachable moment. This is a nice reminder that it's not always material things, but family and faith, and to have that connection at this time," said Brian Patrick, principal.

Petty Officer Cook heads to her base in Norfolk, Virginia next week.

The kids, who were in the care of their grandparents, will go with her.

At this moment, there are no immediate plans for her to be deployed again.

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