A Navy Lieutenant returned home from his tour in Afghanistan Friday and was escorted by the Warrior's Watch Riders to surprise his two children at their school in Wadsworth.
The students at St. Patrick School were told they were going outside for something patriotic and special, but they had no idea how special until they saw Lt. Daniel Smigielski step out of a car and into the arms of his two sons.
"The kids that I saw in the Green Zone in Kabul were -- they have a much different life. Coming back here and seeing the freedoms we have and the kids at school, it's worth fighting for," he said Friday.
Smigielski spent the last year in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force. He's now coming home not only to his family but to the students he taught and coached at St. Patrick's.
"The fact that he is part of our community, that his children attend our school, and he's been on our staff. The children -- when they heard about it yesterday, because we tried to keep it sort of a surprise -- they just couldn't believe it," said principal Marcie Bosnak.
Smigielski joined the U.S. Navy out of high school and did his standard tour. When it was over he married, completed college and became a teacher and dad.
Smigielski rejoined the Navy as an officer after Sept. 11, and has been in the Navy for the past 16 years. He has been deployed to many countries including, Guam, Japan, Korea, Thailand and more. He recently completed another deployment to Israel a year ago.
In January of 2011, Smigielski was deployed to Afghanistan for 10 months for Operation Enduring Freedom.