BARBERTON, Ohio -- A little girl got one of the best surprises of her young life on Tuesday night when her soldier father returned home from Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Byron Martin returned to northern Ohio after his third long tour of duty overseas.
His wife, Trisha, organized a welcome home celebration at her parents' home in Barberton, but their five-year-old daughter, Madison, wasn't told about her father's return.
She was enjoying an illusionist's show at the celebration when her father suddenly appeared from behind the illusionist's door.
A kiss and a big hug followed, immediately.
Staff Sergeant Martin described the welcome home.
"It's a great experience. After not being home for a year, being away from the family for a year. It is amazing to see how big they've gotten, how much they've grown up," he said.
Martin and his wife were students at Mentor High School.
She was thrilled to see her husband again.
"It is a relief," she said. "It's our third deployment so we've been married seven years and it's almost four that we've been apart so it's always a relief to have him back for a little while."
The family plans to head to Alaska, where Martin's unit is based, in June.