ALPINE — A surprise during a school assembly at Westfield Elementary in Alpine turned into a special moment that was full of smiles, tears and a lot of hugs.

“When I saw him, I think that was the most happiest I have ever been in my life,” said fourth-grader Abigail Sego, whose father just surprised her and her sisters.

Air Force Sgt. Jason Sego has been deployed in Afghanistan for nearly a year and wasn’t expected to come home for another two months.

“Although the internet is pretty good there, it’s still nothing like being at home with the family,” Sego said. “It is a special thing to be able to be with your family day in and day out, and not being able to have it is kind of tough.”

The homecoming was a surprise that had been in the making for several weeks.

“An operation, I don’t want to say as covert as what I do, but pretty secretive from the kids, that is for sure, so it was a happy surprise,” the father said.

His wife, Diana Sego, worked with the school to help pull off the surprise and share this homecoming with the community.

“I just knew that the girls missed their dad so much, and we are so excited to see him again,” Diana Sego said.

With the help of the school assistant principal, Tiffinie Littlefield, the school held a patriotic assembly to honor those who are serving in the military. Sgt. Sego was the special guest.

“Because it has been so long, I am going to remember how happy I was to see him, said third-grader Emma Sego.

First-grader Autumn Sego, who was still very emotional after seeing her dad, said, “I was really happy because he came back.”

The girls were all very surprised and couldn’t stop crying happy tears. Their fourth daughter is Riley, a kindergartner.

“You can’t tell, but everyone is happy,” said Diana Sego with a laugh.

Fortunately, Sgt. Sego’s next deployment to Germany beginning in June will allow his family to be with him, but after nearly a year apart, this day is one they will never forget.

“The emotions from the children put that special moment in your heart of how much children mean and how much you mean to them,” he said.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc