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12-year-old Kristi Flury loves dolphins and all other kinds of animals. But when she went to the Brookfield Zoo with her mother, April, the young Illinois girl got a show at the zoo that she will never forget. She was excited to go see the Dolphins in Action show with her mom that Thursday afternoon, but when a surprise came in the middle of the show, the girl ended up screaming and running around the pool. Her father, who she thought was still on deployment in Kuwait, had returned home to surprise her.
For days before the zoo visit, April had to hide the truth about Kristi’s father, Captain Joshua Flury of the United States Army Reserves, from her daughter. It was a tough truth to withhold, but she kept reminding herself that she was holding out on her daughter for a good reason. The surprise homecoming would be such a great way for Kristi to see her dad after months away fro home.
It being Captain Flury’s second deployment, his missing was tough on the family. Little Kristi missed her father fiercely and kept asking about when he was coming home. This made it difficult for the family to keep the surprise a secret.
But on that day at the zoo, Kristi had no idea that her father was backstage at the dolphin show waiting for his cue.
Back in June, April contacted the zoo to organize the surprise homecoming. She was eager to make the girl’s father’s homecoming a positive experience for the young lady.
For the last 10 months, Captain Flury was serving in Kuwait as a projects officer. And he was given the opportunity to come home a few weeks early to see his daughter before she started school.
During the surprise, the zoo had their cameras rolling – they weren’t about to pass up on a chance to highlight a loving military family reunion.
As the show was going, the organizers invited April and Kristi up to the front so they could get the chance to pet the dolphins. Kristi was overjoyed that she was getting to see the dolphin so close up and in front of the audience.
Then the instructor announced the surprise for the girl and Captain Flury walked out on stage.
Kristi squealed and ran to her dad. She leaped into his strong arms and embraced him.
The crowd was overwhelmed with emotion at the homecoming surprise. They rose to their feet and applauded. On their way out of the dolphins show, audience members approached the captain and gave him thanks for serving America.
Inside Edition viewers shared their reaction to the homecoming:
“This is so Cute. even the Dolphins were so Helpful and cooperative”
Sophia White was there, “I was sitting in that crowd. That is the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. I live not to far from there. It was a really awesome moment. At these dolphin shows the dolphins splash the crowd at the end, the soldier and his family got soaked.”
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