Chris McKinnon, News 9
WEATHERFORD, Oklahoma -- Sergeant First Class Jeff Shields returned home from Iraq Wednesday night but actually stayed in a motel down the street from his family home so he could surprise his three sons on Veterans Day.
The surprise reunion for Ryan Shields and his dad happened during a Veterans Day assembly at East Elementary School in Weatherford. There were smiles and a few happy tears all around.
"I was really shocked," said Ryan Shields. "A hundred percent happy!"
Just down the road, the Shields' oldest son, Trevor, prepared to play Taps in front of his school to honor our fallen heroes. Sgt. Shields waited nervously for the cue to make his entrance. He walked out and shocked Trevor.
"Good job, bud. That was perfect. Perfect," Sgt. Shields said as soon as his son finished playing.
Sgt. Shields then surprised his third son, Austin, at his school, which brought the whole family back together for the first time in months.
"Everything is right with the world," said Deana Shields. "We're all home, we're all safe, I couldn't ask for anything more."
Friday brought relief for the mom of three, who has kept the Shields household running smoothly while her husband was overseas. Her oldest son, Trevor, helps her out often but doing the job of two parents has not been easy.
"I worry about them. I worry about her and her getting worn out by running place to place," said Sgt. Shields. "She comes through time and again. She's an example to other military wives, in my opinion."
The family is together for the next two week before Sgt. Shields has to report back for duty. They said an early Christmas and a good Thanksgiving dinner are in the works.
"Locking the door, pulling the shades, turning the phone off, we're going to have family time," said Deana.
The surprises took a lot of planning according to Sgt. Shields but he said it was all worth it.
"It's good to be home."
Sgt. Shields will report back for duty the day after Thanksgiving. He said his duties involve helping bring other U.S. soldiers back home from Iraq. Sgt. Shields said this should be his last deployment before retiring. He expects to be home for good in May.