GIFFORD, Fla. - Jon Barnette just returned to Vero Beach from his second eight-month tour in Afghanistan.
The Navy mechanic's little sister, Lindsey Fultz, thought he was still far away-- until a special moment at Gifford Middle School.
It began with Fultz, an eighth-grader, being called to the stage on the last day of classes. It was around 12:15 p.m., the final day scheduled of the school year, with an early-dismissal ready.
When Barnette stepped from behind the stage and surprised Fultz in front of all of her classmates, she gasped and screamed, "Oh, my gosh!" then threw a huge hug around her brother's neck.
"I got her to cry, and that's what I was aiming for!" exulted Barnette, as he continued to hug his sister.
The long-awaited reunion was a complete shock for Fultz. She'd always wanted to be surprised at school, but she didn't think Jon could make it home.
"I didn't really believe it, because it's coming down to the moment," said Fultz. "I didn't think he could, because it's the last day of school, but he did."
Jon had to enlist the help of family members to pretend he was still overseas.
"Telling her they weren't sure I was going to be able to make it," he explained, of family members' involvement. "I wanted her to think I wasn't going to be able to make it."
With tears of joy all around, for both Barnette and Fultz, it was a moment to remember.
"Now, we'll just spend time together, until I have to go back to duty on Sunday," said Barnette.
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