POSTED: Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 6:04pm
CULLOWHEE, NC (CNN) — A college student in North Carolina got an unforgettable surprise at a basketball game when her father, who was supposed to be in Afghanistan, showed up.
It takes a special individual to put on a mascot suit.
And Thursday night it was an American hero stepping into the costume.
CNN: “Did you ever think that you'd be doing this?”
“Oh my goodness no,” said Major Hicks.
Major Jimmy Hicks of the United States Marine Corps is home from his deployment in Afghanistan, so what a better way to celebrate then with family.
CNN: "Are you nervous at all?"
Major Hicks: "I am very nervous."
But there's one person that doesn't know he's back, his daughter Simms Hicks a sophomore at
To pull off the ultimate surprise she was asked to present the American flag her dad gave the university at the Catamounts home basketball game.
With her dad dressed as Paws she never expected the half time ceremony to go like this.
Six months without seeing each other you can imagine that hug felt good.
The surprise reunion brought the crowd at the Ramsey center to their feet.
It’s a moment everyone will remember and something everyone Major Hicks and Simms will cherish forever.
"Like you always have these visions in your head that maybe he'd run out. You always see the basketball games where the parents get home and run out from the back or whatever but I never suspected him to actually be paws but it was probably a dream for him come true," daughter Simms Hicks told CNN.