Returning soldier surprises siblings in Turtle Creek classroom visit
Alexis Mazzola gets a hug from her brother, Steven Tomich Monday. Tomich, an Army engineer, just finished a nine-month tour of duty in Kuwait, and arrived back home to surprise Alexis and her brother Roger Mazzola Jr. at Turtle Creek Elementary School in Delavan. Photo courtesy of Delavan-Darien School District.
Two students at Turtle Creek Elementary School in Delavan had extra special days Monday, when they got a surprise visit from their big brother.
U.S. Army Specialist E4 Steven Tomich came in with his wife and parents to surprise his younger brother and sister, Roger Jr. and Alexis Mazzola.
The younger siblings had just finished listening to first grade teacher Kirsten Andreoni read a book about an older brother leaving his younger brother home while he went off to join the Army.
Shortly after finishing the book, Tomich came into the classroom dressed in full Army fatigues and combat boots. His wife Melissa, and parents Maureen and Roger Mazzola Sr., were not far behind.
Roger Jr. and Alexis were surprised, to say the least. It took a few seconds for it to sink in for the second and first graders, respectively, to realize what they were seeing. A few moments later, both gave their big brother a hug and then talked to their first and second grade classmates about where he had been and what he had been doing.
Tomich, an engineer, was home after serving a nine-month tour of duty in Kuwait. He flew back stateside in early February, but had to stay at his base, Fort Carson in Colorado, until arriving in Delavan earlier March 4.
It was hard for the family to keep his homecoming a secret from Roger Jr. and Alexis for so long, Tomich’s mother said.
Both of the elementary students said they look forward to spending time with their older brother, playing games and talking with him. They also said they’d try to get him to take them both sledding.
Tomich is home until March 25 before he has to return to base. His tour in Kuwait was his first overseas.