Returning Army dad surprises daughter at Middleburg school

It started out as just an ordinary Friday in class for Ashleigh Raymond at Middleburg High School.

Then a man in desert camouflage walked into her portable classroom, followed by a woman with a video camera.

"Ashleigh, you have a visitor," said the videographer, her mother Shannon.

It was her father, U.S. Army Spc. Guy Raymond, who hadn't been home from Afghanistan's front lines in a year.

"Tears rushed to my eyes," the 17-year-old teen said Monday. "I knew he was coming back from Afghanistan. I just didn't know he would be able to come down and see me."

The two exchanged a long and tearful 23-second hug.

"They're very close," her mother said.

She said she wanted to fly her daughter to Fort Bragg, N.C., where Raymond is stationed, but couldn't because of school. So her husband was able to convince Fort Bragg officials to let him and a buddy drive to Middleburg.

Raymond has been serving in Afghanistan for two years and hadn't seen his family, including daughter, in a year. When he did finally arrive back in Middleburg, she was in class. So her parents went to the school and rolled out to her portable classroom in a school golf cart with excited faculty in tow.

His military beret on at a jaunty angle, Raymond walked up the stairs to the classroom, his wife shooting the video.

"You go ahead in," says his wife as he opens the classroom door.

The teen bolts from her desk as soon as she sees her father and hugs him as a voice is heard explaining that "she hasn't seen her daddy in a year."

The teen hugs a family friend next as her father gives a thumbs-up to the class.

news flash