Army pilot comes home, surprises 5-year-old son

Sam Harvill hugs his son Jackson after surprising him at St. Joseph Central Elementary School.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) An Army veteran returned home and surprised his 5-year-old son at school, just in time for Veterans Day.

“I just wanted to come home and surprise my son,” Army Chief Warrant Officer Two Sam Harvill said.

Harvill is back home from piloting a Blackhawk helicopter in Europe and is with his young family for the first time in a year. After seeing wife Jenna and 5-year-old son Charlie, he walked into a kindergarten classroom at Saint Joseph Central Elementary to surprise the oldest son, Jackson.

The Harvill family poses for pictures after father Sam surprised his son Jackson at school.

The talkative kindergartner was almost without words after the interaction.

“It was fun,” Jackson said after the surprise.

“I’ve never seen him this speechless before,” Harvill told Jackson’s teacher Melissa Townsend.

After a moment for themselves, Jackson walked around the classroom, and handed out flags and stickers from Sam.

Townsend taught the kids about Veterans Day and the importance of thanking those in the military.

“They need to learn that freedom is not free,” Townsend said passionately. “Jackson’s family sacrificing while we’re here able to do the things we want to do. They need to know that and appreciate that and I think that they really have.”

Jackson’s mom Jenna said her and her husband Sam were nervous getting ready for the day but were excited about the reunion.

“It’s different not being in a military community anymore when we moved back to Fort Wayne and that’s been a little bit of a challenge,” she explained. “No one really knows what you are experiencing but little things like this make all the difference.”

Jenna told NewsChannel 15 the family was planning a party for Sam’s return over the weekend while noting they were going to soak in as much time with Sam as possible before his time off is over.