Soldier dresses as school mascot to surprise kids after returning home from deployment


STOW, Ohio (WJW) — A local high school senior is happy to have her dad, who serves in the Ohio National Guard, back home after being away on deployment.

The emotional reunion happened at the football game between Stow-Munroe Falls and Brecksville-Broadview Heights on Friday night.

Erica Jarosz, a senior percussionist in the marching band, had no idea it was coming.

After the band played the halftime show, Erica and her family from Stow were called to the middle of the field.

That is when Sgt. Michael Jarosz revealed he was dressed as Spike, the bulldog mascot.

There were lots of tears as the Jarosz family hugged their father who they haven’t seen since March 2019.

“It feels great.  It’s been a long 14 months,” said Jarosz.

Earlier in the day, Jarosz along with 125 members of the Ohio National Guard 1st Battalion of the 145th Armored Regiment returned home from the Middle East.

From there, Jarosz went straight to the football field to suit up as Spike.

“There were a lot of jitters, the anticipation,” said Jarosz.

For him, the hardest part was having to wait until halftime for the hugs.

“I kept this a secret from five kids. It took a lot of work,” said Jennifer, wife.

The heartwarming reunion was felt by every single person in the stands.

And for Erica, it was a senior night she will always remember.

“I thought he was coming home Tuesday,” said Erica.

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