Local father returns from Afghanistan, surprises kids at school


POSTED: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 2:52pm

UPDATED: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 4:32pm

A father of two serving overseas is back with him family in Denham Springs tonight. The way he returned home this morning, is something his kids will never forget.

“I’m just excited,” Major Neil Everingham said just before the big surprise this morning. “It's been hard to do the delay so we could surprise them.”

Major Everingham has been in Afghanistan serving our country. He's been away from, his wife, Crystal, and his two kids for a year.

“It’s very hard,” he said. “It’s my third deployment. The first one when they're actually old enough to remember, and that's been the hardest part, they've been used to having dad around and he's not.”

But that was all set to change. At an assembly to replace the school's old U.S. flag with a new one, the school brought in a special guest to lead the school in a pledge of allegiance. It was Everingham. Finally the family is back together.

The Major's wife says keeping the whole thing a surprise was nearly impossible.

“It was very tough,” Crystal Everingham, said. “It was so hard cause they asked me all the time when's dad coming home, less than 30 days, 20 days, cause they wanted to be surprised but they wanted to know, too.”

“I didn't recognize him,” Caelan Everingham said. “But when he got a few feet from us - I saw his patch that says his last name that's when I knew it was him

“And I first recognized him when he pointed to me,” Lila Rose Everingham, said. “And I saw it was my dad,

Now, Major Everingham says it's time to get re-acquainted.

“I’m just happy to be home with my kids,” he said. “I think I’m really to take them home.”

And that's exactly what happened. The Major says he's keeping his kids out of school tomorrow, then spend a long awaited weekend at home, all together, watching the LSU game.

We have the full, unedited moment when the surprise happened on the NBC33 Facebook page.

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