Metro Atlanta military mom surprises 9-year-old son at school on Veteran’s Day

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A military mom who was overseas for months surprised her son at school on Veteran’s Day Thursday.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was at Ola Elementary School, where Sgt. Jessica Valdez surprised her 9-year-old son, Benjamin Kyriss, after being deployed with the Air Force for the last five months.

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Benjamin and his fourth grade class knew a hero was coming to visit, but had no idea it was Valdez.

“I had no idea, but I heard ‘Valdez’ and I’m like, ‘That’s similar to my mom’s name,’” Benjamin said. “And then my mom popped out! I was so happy that she came.”

Everyone in the room was in tears as the mother and son reunited, including Benjamin’s aunt Veronica, who has been taking good care of him while his mom was serving in Kuwait.


“Well it was the fact that it was such a ... it was a very big surprise,” Benjamin said.

Valdez said she was supposed to come home on the Nov. 16, but when she figured out she would be able to fly in the next day, she jumped at the chance. As far as Benjamin knew, she wouldn’t be home until Christmas.

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“I changed my ticket for Veterans Day, and I just thought it would be a really cool surprise for him,” Valdez said. “Because he wasn’t expecting it at all.”

Benjamin said the first thing he wants to do with his mom is go to Cracker Barrel.

“It will be a good place to talk and chat and have some good food,” Benjamin said.