NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It was a successful surprise homecoming for one Nacogdoches soldier.
It also created a touching moment at last week's National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, one that an East Texas family will be talking about for a long time.
Of all the rodeos and county fairs Nacogdoches County Expo Director Anita Scott has planned, she can't top her last big event.
"It was a total surprise to him," Scott said. "He had no idea that he was coming."
For one month, Scott kept the homecoming of her son, Sgt. Timothy Grace, from her husband Bo Scott. The first accomplishment was Anita keeping a secret.
"That's, that's pretty good trick, you know," Bo said.
the couple arrived in Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo and the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association Convention. Anita attends the annual events in preparation for the Nacogdoches rodeo. With the NFRs help the orchestrated reunion began.
"I ended up in the wrong place quite often," Bo said.
"They were dodging around slot machines and stuff just trying to hide Timothy to get him past Bo and I."
Then media started arriving.
"They all just swarmed over like a bunch of buzzards," Bo said, causing laughter from Anita. "And then timothy came out. It all happened in a matter of seconds."
The couple's military son was back from Afghanistan, his second deployment. Before that, he served in Iraq. The moment still tugs at Bo's emotions.
"I was glad to see he was back safe because he was in a really bad space, you know," Bo said. "It could have easily turned out a lot different. He was in a lot of bad things when he was over there. And he probably had to see and do a lot of things, young man ought not have to do."
However, on that day, Sgt. Grace's assignment was to hug the one he loves. It was the biggest Las Vegas win for this Nacogdoches family. No one went home a loser. Everyone is a winner.
Timothy was planning originally to surprise his mother, but Anita was on a list that notified family when soldiers were stateside. He's hopefully planning another reunion for next week in Nacogdoches.