Two young boys in Mesquite, Texas, got a great start to the school week recently -- and it came in the form of a pep rally complete with a marching band, cheerleaders and a special mascot!
On Monday, U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Cesar Martinez dressed as the Pirrung Elementary School mascot, Jazzy the Jaguar, to surprise his sons, fifth-grader Gabriel and third-grader Gavin, as he returned home from deployment.
"It's been 195 days, to be exact," Martinez said in a video posted to the page.
Martinez, who returned from deployment in Qatar, joined the Air Force Reserve 17 years ago and had served in Baghdad, Kuwait and Qatar.
As the band played and cheerleaders waved their pompoms, Martinez entered the room and did a little dance as Gabriel and Gavin as well as other students sat and watched.
But when he pulled the costume head off, his sons ran over to him, calling his name, and giving him huge hugs.
"I missed you guys so much!" Martinez said in a video posted to the district's page. "How are you? ... You guys are so big."
Gabriel, Martinez's oldest son, said he'd prayed for his father's safe turn every night.
"When I saw him, I was like, 'Papi, is that really you?' Then I gave him a big hug," Gabriel said.
Martinez said he was really happy to be home.
"They're great. They're amazing," he said. "This is why I do it."