Green Run Elementary School (GRES) fifth-grader Natalia Torres-Toledo and kindergartner Bryan Torres-Toledo had Saturday, Dec. 19 marked on their calendar for months. That was the day their father was scheduled to return to Naval Station Norfolk on the USS George Washington (CVN 73). Deployed since Sept. 1, Petty Officer, 2nd Class Hector Torres missed Bryan’s first day of kindergarten, Halloween and Thanksgiving with the family. When Torres learned his aircraft carrier was going to arrive two days early, he talked with his wife Melissa about planning a homecoming surprise.
While Natalia played violin in the school’s nighttime holiday performance Dec. 17, Torres watched through a slightly-opened door near the cafeteria. The rest of his family, including his son Bryan, watched the performance from seats in the front row. Behind the scenes, Torres admitted to being nervous about the upcoming public introduction but excited to hug his children.
Watch what happened after GRES principal Sheila Wynn thanked families for attending and made note of the nearly 100 GRES families who have parents serving as active duty personnel: