May 3, 2018
A. Robison Elementary School kindergarten student Lucy Fatuch (left) and her father, John, hold hands for the first time in nine months on April 27. John Fatuch, a sergeant in the U.S. Marines, surprised his daughter in her classroom following a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq.
May 3, 2018—Lucy Fatuch’s family and teachers at A. Robison Elementary School wanted to surprise the kindergarten student, as she didn’t know her U.S. Marine-enlisted father returned to Texas following a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq on April 27.
The plan quickly came together and John Fatuch found himself wearing the school’s Rockets mascot costume an hour before the end of the school day. He made his way to Lucy’s classroom, pulling off the costume and surprising his daughter and her classmates.
John Fatuch (center), a sergeant in the U.S. Marines, smiles with Lucy Fatuch after he surprised his daughter in her A. Robison Elementary School kindergarten classroom upon his return in Texas following a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq. John Fatuch wore the school’s Rockets mascot costume, revealing himself to the class to an emotional reception.
“It was really hard the whole time I was out there and it was just really amazing to be able to see her,” said John Fatuch, a sergeant in the U.S. Marines.
The moment was emotional for father and daughter, but also from nearly everyone in the room. Lucy’s classmates embraced her with a group hug. Her family and school administrators wiped away tears during the surprise.
“It was very emotional and a little harder to pull off than I thought,” said Kelly Gerletti, A. Robison principal. “That was amazing to watch and special. We do a lot at this campus to recognize veterans – it’s always been special to us. But this is the first time that’s happened and it was great to be a part of it.”
The surprise was actually the second for the Fatuch family. Josh Fatuch, who returned from overseas earlier in April but was in California, saw his second daughter (seven-month-old Lyla) for the first time upon returning to Texas.
John Fatuch (center) holds his daughter, A. Robison Elementary School kindergarten student Lucy, after he surprised her following a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq. Joining the two for the surprise were, from left, grandparents John and Mary Fatuch, and wife and Lucy’s mother Ruby, who is holding her and John’s second daughter Lyla.
And though Fatuch was a little apprehensive with wearing the costume, the opportunity to make this moment special for his daughter was well worth it.
“I just try to keep in contact as much as I can while I’m gone,” John Fatuch said. “But yes, it’s very good to be back.”