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FORT WORTH (KRLD) – Two 5th graders were in for a surprise at their school’s end of six-weeks recognition award assembly on Friday.

Laura Gonzalez and her cousin Aubrie Gonzalez were called to the stage by Timberview Middle School assistant principal Tracy Vineyard.

When they arrived to the stage, Vineyard told them she was embarrassed because she didn’t have their awards. The girls are smiling with joy with the school’s principal Carrie Jackson, and unbeknownst to them, their mother and aunt is about to walk into the cafeteria after a 7-month tour in Iraq.

Vineyard then announces that they had found their awards and in comes United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Erica Gonzalez holding them in her hands.

Teachers and students roared in applause as she approached her daughter and niece on stage. The girls, in tears, embraced her for a few moments before their faces turned to smiles once again.

“The majority of us in attendance today will never know the longing, loneliness, and struggle of being away from loved ones for months at a time or having a loved one be away from us like the Gonzalez family has felt. I’m so grateful that we were able to share this beautiful moment with our school and community,” said Timberview public relations representative Reid Copeland.

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