COSBY, Tenn. (WATE) — Three Cocke County kids got a very special surprise Thursday night.

Army National Guard member Paul McMahan has been deployed overseas for the last 10 months. Paul’s wife Cara, and three kids, Matthew, age 12; Zion, 6; and Victoria, 3, have been waiting patiently for him at home.

“It’s a struggle. I work full time. They go to school partially full time and partially virtual so that’s been a little bit different for everybody all together,” Cara said.

Paul wasn’t expected to be home for a few more months, but he came early to surprise his kids.

He chose a night when he knew Matthew would be playing basketball to make his big reveal.

Matthew’s school, Cosby Elementary, told him he was being recognized for being the only sixth grade starter on the team. That’s when they brought his father out.

“He’s an amazing dad. He’s a great dad, always hands on, very involved in every aspect of anything he can do with the kids,” Cara said.

Right now Paul does not have a scheduled date to go back overseas. The family is hoping he’ll have plenty of time to catch up, and start making new memories.