Local Soldier Surprises Daughter at Veterans Day School Assembly

One Hillsborough elementary student got a huge surprise when her dad showed up at her school during a Veterans Day assembly. Her father left home for training with the army nearly a year ago, and this was the first time she had seen him in person since then.

Spectrum Bay News 9 visited Claywell Elementary School for a Veterans Day assembly last week. Second-grader Coral Pena sat with her classmates, utterly unaware of the upcoming surprise her parents had orchestrated. As the students got ready to say the Pledge of Allegiance, Coral's dad, U.S. Army Private Rafael Sanchez, took to the stage, and Coral sprinted over to embrace him.

Sanchez has been in training for the last year, and only communicated with Coral and her sister over the phone or through video chat. "It's very different going from spending every day with each other to only speaking through technology," Sanchez told Spectrum Bay News 9. "Beautiful," Sanchez said, describing that moment on stage. "Honestly, amazing. Trying to soak it all up."

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