St. Joseph Elementary School’s field day on Friday was made even more exciting by a surprise reunion.
Kevin Schluterman was deployed to Qatar in January. His family thought he was coming home on May 24. Instead, Kevin surprised his wife Brittany and their daughter, third-grader Lorilei Schluterman, during the school’s field day on Friday.
The surprise was made possible with the help of Kevin’s co-conspirators — Principal Courtney Pope and local DJ Sharpe Dunaway, who was providing music and entertainment for the school’s field day.
Kevin updated Pope on when he would arrive at the school. Once he arrived, Dunaway met with him inside the school and quickly devised a plan.
The DJ had all the students whose moms were in attendance at the field day line up for a game of Simon Says. He had the students and their moms face the other way so that Kevin could come out undetected.
As soon as Dunaway said “Simon says ‘turn back around,’” Lorilei saw her dad, squealed and jumped into his arms. Brittany, who also had no idea Kevin would be home Friday, embraced her husband with tears in her eyes.
“It was absolutely a surprise. I’m shaking,” Brittany said. “I thought he was coming home next Friday.”
Everyone on the playground erupted in cheers as the family continued to hug, especially Lorilei’s class who has a special connection with the soldier.
Lorilei’s class painted their hands red, white and blue and made a flag of their handprints with a note that said “These hands are praying for you.”
Each of the students wrote Kevin a letter as well and sent them with the flag.
As a thank you, the Schlutermans arranged for Kona Ice to come to the school so the kids could have snow cones.
Lorilei, after some of the shock wore off, said she couldn’t wait to hang out with her dad.
“I’m so happy he’s home,” she said.