Quantcast

Army Sgt. surprises daughter at Lindale Elementary - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Army Sgt. surprises daughter at Lindale Elementary

Posted: Updated:
Photo courtesy: KYTX Photo courtesy: KYTX
Photo courtesy: KYTX Photo courtesy: KYTX
Photo courtesy: KYTX Photo courtesy: KYTX
LINDALE, Tx. -

(KYTX) - U.S. Army Sgt. Stephen Stroman has braved the brutal desert temperatures of Iraq and Afghanistan. He is comfortable in his Army fatigues. His military training and expertise was no match for the stifling heat and itchy interior of a high school mascot costume.

"It's pretty hot in this thing," Sgt. Stroman said, "and I can see out of my peripheral but I can't see straight ahead."

The temporary discomfort and obscured vision were quickly put at ease when the tiny arms of his daughter Emmaleigh wrapped around him for the first time in more than a year. Sgt. Stroman surprised Emmaleigh, a first-grade student at Lindale's Velma Penny Elementary School, with a visit to her physical education class on Wednesday. He dressed in the Lindale Eagle mascot costume to conceal himself and provide a special gift in time for Christmas. The father and daughter had been separated for a year due to his assignment in New York.

Sgt. Stroman, along with Emmaleigh's mother, Marianne Miller, and stepmother, Lindsay Stroman, made arrangements with the staff of Velma Penny Elementary School for the visit and reveal. Miller asked the high school cheerleading sponsor to borrow the Eagle mascot costume.

"When I first called, I had to explain who I was and what we were trying to do for our daughter," Miller said. "As soon as I told them, they said ‘yes.' We thought this would be a good way to surprise her."

Sgt. Stroman was quickly ushered into the teacher's lounge to hide out of sight from his daughter. Her class would pass the campus office on the way to the gymnasium. The mascot costume was specially delivered to the lounge where Stroman put it on over his fatigues. He walked to the school's gym dressed in the costume where he high-fived incoming students, including his own daughter who had no idea he was inside the costume.

Students in Emmaleigh's class were told a special news story was being written about the Lindale Eagle to distract from the presence of several cameras waiting to capture the big moment. Velma Penny Elementary School Principal Monica Moore told students the Eagle needed to select a special volunteer that morning to help show school spirit. Stroman walked through the crowd of eager faces and reached out his hand to Emmaleigh. In front of her classmates, he knelt down and removed the costume head. For the first time in more than 12 months, their eyes met face to face. Emmaleigh collapsed against her father in a big hug. He scooped her up and swung her around. The gymnasium erupted in applause. Campus staff members passed out tissues to adults moved by the sight.

"I appreciate all the school did for us," Stroman said after the reunion. "I've been looking forward to seeing her and really wanted to do something to make this special. The school really set this up and did a great job."

Emmaleigh was a bit shy from all the attention but was all smiles standing at her daddy's side and sitting in his lap.

When asked if she was happy to see him, the seven-year-old gave a very emphatic head nod.

Stroman is a member of the 10th Mountain Division. He served in Iraq from May 2007 through May 2008. He was deployed to Afghanistan from June 2010 until April 2011. He has been in active duty in New York for the past two years. He said time away from his family has been difficult.

The efforts of some caring educators and concerned family members, helped to turn a difficult year into a merry Christmas.

"By far, the best Christmas gift," Stroman said.

  • KTBS 3 InvestigatesMore>>

  • KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:13 GMT
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
  • Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:28 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:28:29 GMT
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
  • Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:14:50 GMT
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
  • NationalMore>>

  • After 6 weeks, finally a deal on VA health care

    After 6 weeks, finally a deal on VA health care

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:07 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:07:33 GMT
    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records...
    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up...
  • Trial opening over video of Oklahoma City bombing

    Trial opening over video of Oklahoma City bombing

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:45 AM EDT2014-07-28 07:45:51 GMT
    A Salt Lake City attorney is arguing in a lawsuit that the FBI has video of the Oklahoma City bombing that shows a second person was involved.
    A Salt Lake City attorney is arguing in a lawsuit that the FBI has video of the Oklahoma City bombing that shows a second person was involved.
  • Man dies after lightning hits California beach

    Man dies after lightning hits California beach

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:45 AM EDT2014-07-28 07:45:42 GMT
    A 20-year-old man died after lightning from a rare summer thunderstorm jolted a Southern California beach, injuring or rattling more than a dozen people, authorities said.
    A 20-year-old man died after lightning from a rare summer thunderstorm jolted a Southern California beach, injuring or rattling more than a dozen people, authorities said.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File