Belleville High School student Erik Arroyo was hanging posters around the campus halls when he received a big surprise last week.
Arroyo turned to his left as he was completing his tasks and saw his father, Master Sergeant Alejandro Arroyo who had been serving in Kuwait, in uniform ready to greet him.
The two hugged after a year apart before Sgt. Arroyo later went home and surprised his wife, Tasha, and daughter, Aaliyah, as well.
His family vaguely knew of his return, but Erik said he was completely floored by his sudden appearance.
“It honestly feels great. I realize that the line of duty he is in requires him not to be home a lot, but to not see your dad for an entire year takes a toll on you and your family. I’m just glad to know that he is finally home and safe," he said.
Sgt. Arroyo has served in the army for 23 years and was first deployed to Iraq in 2004 and was deployed again last year to Kuwait.
WBHS, the school's television station, interviewed Alejandro upon his return. He also met with the school's principal Russell Pagano and Vice Principals Joseph Rotonda and Paul Aiello.