KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville dad gave his children a huge surprise Wednesday afternoon. Army Staff Sergeant Tallie Holt had been deployed to Afghanistan for 10 months, and to surprise his children, he showed up at their school unannounced.
Seven-year-old Makenna Holt and her brother, 5-year-old Tallen Holt, had no clue what was going on when all the students at Bluegrass Elementary School were asked to come to a special assembly in the gym.
In a matter of minutes, their father would be making a huge surprise.
"This is awesome," said the children's grandmother Tana Shoup. "This is awesome because you know kids are kids. They haven't seen him in a long time."
After secretly getting into his wife's SUV, Holt arrived in the front of the elementary school. His children had no idea he was inside.
Their reaction after seeing him was priceless.
This was Holt's third deployment. The first two were to Iraq. Holt said it's hard being gone for so long.
"Just this, you miss," he said. "They get too used to mama."
Tallen would not let go of his dad, and Makenna noticed something different about her father.
"He's taller than his own truck," she said. "I love you."
Holt's wife says it is hard with him gone.
"Just the stress, and basically being a single parent," said Megan Holt, "Just doing everything alone."
Holt is not expected to be deployed again for three years.
"I love you," said Shoup. "I'm proud of you. I'm glad you are home."
Holt has another child who attends West High School. He surprised her as well on Wednesday.