Every adult in the room was smiling and fighting back tears of joy as Kennedy Mills recognized the uniformed man at her classroom door at Heritage Elementary in Carter County and screamed one word – “DADDY!”
Sgt. Kenneth Mills, who was born and raised in the nearby Willard community, visited the school where he attended classes years ago during a break from his duties with the U.S. Army in Korea and surprised two of his three daughters.
Teacher Nichole Flaugher, who is related to the soldier (“Kenneth is my husband’s nephew but I claim him too,” she explained), and Teacher Rebecca Cales teamed up to arrange for the daddy-daughters reunion.
The television team of Tim Irr and Taylor Eaton from WSAZ 3 confessed they also got caught up in the emotion of the moment, admitting they were among the adults who had spontaneous waterworks in their eyes when Kennedy recognized and reacted to her dad.
Equally entertaining, preschool student Presley Mills was contentedly enjoying her lunch in the cafeteria, and did not even notice when her daddy sat down beside her and waited for a response.
When he spoke her name, however, the youngster immediately put her little head into his chest and belly and held on tight.