WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) ─ When Mila Sitarz joined her classmates outside for story time Monday afternoon, reuniting with her father was the last thing she was expecting.
Brian Sitarz, a U.S. Navy sailor, returned from deployment a few days before students at the Alice Macomber Primary School began celebrating Armed Forces Week, which honors the men and women who are currently serving.
In April 2020, Brian was deployed to Djibouti, Africa, where he was stationed for more than a year. So when the opportunity arose to surprise his youngest child at school, he took it.
“To be able to come back home and to see my kids again, it’s an indescribable feeling that, unless you live it and do it, it’s hard to describe,” he said.
Mila was dressed for the occasion, wearing a shirt that reads: “My daddy comes home today.”
But the 6-year-old is still learning to read, meaning she had no clue that, when her teacher asked her to help her welcome a special guest, it would be none other than her dad.
The smile on Mila’s face when she saw him was priceless.
“It was probably one of the best experiences, being able to come home and to see that expression,” Brian said. “Her being so happy.”
Mila was able to leave school for the rest of the day, which she said would be spent “playing with her daddy.” Following the reunion, the two headed straight for the playground.
If she had it her way, it will be the last time her dad has to leave home.
“No more going away,” she said. “That’s it. Last time.”
This was Brian’s third deployment in his 13 years of service.