ROCKFORD, Mich. – U.S. Army Private Elise Kurek wrapped her two children in her arms in tears during a surprise homecoming at Valley View Elementary School in Rockford Friday.
The day before holiday break Christmas came early for Landon and Maci Kurek, a second grader and kindergartner, who expected to pick their mother up from the airport with their father Friday night. But at the school’s afternoon assembly, Christmas carols turned into a well-planned surprise homecoming.
The school principal called Landon and Maci up to the front and asked them what they wanted for Christmas. The brother and sister said how excited they were to see their mom that night when in mid-sentence, Kurek walked up behind them.
“Amazing, it feels wonderful, I’ve been waiting for this for a while,” said Kurek. “I was really shocked, I was expecting you know just to go see my kids, and pull them out of school, but this was way more than I expected.”
The energy was electric in the Valley View gym: applause from the entire school, as students waved American flags, handmade banners, and a quilt all to welcome home Private Kurek.
After drying some tears, seated with their mom and dad, Landon told FOX 17, “I thought it was amazing,” and Maci wiping her eyes said, “I feel happy for my mom.”
Kurek’s husband of seven years Zachary Kurek also just found out about this school-wide surprise Friday morning. He waited behind closed doors with the kids’ grandmother Cindy Kurek.
“It’s going to be the most exciting Christmas this year for the kids especially, and their mom and dad, and the grandparents of course,” said Cindy. “I can’t wait! I’m so excited!”
Private Kurek had been training to become a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston in Texas the last seven months. She has the next two weeks to spend at home with her family, then said she will finish the last 16 weeks of training.
“That’s been probably the biggest struggle out of all of this is trying to find that balance, but it’s worth it,” said Kurek. “In the end when training is done, and I’ve got them back and we can be together every day, it’ll make all of this missing each other well worth it, for sure.”
FOX 17 wishes a happy holiday to the Kureks!