FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Five-year-old, Jackson Harvill, said his dad, who is an Army helicopter pilot, is his hero.
"We spent the last few days talking about what dads do, and what he does, and he gave us the whole tutorial on Blackhawk helicopters, how fast his dad flies, how when he's 11 he gets to fly in a helicopter, too," said Melissa Townsend, Jackson's teacher at St. Joseph Central Elementary.
Jackson and his little brother had not seen their dad in nine months, until Friday when a surprise nearly a month in the making became a reality.
"He has no idea," Sam Harvill said.
With the help of his wife, parents, and Jackson's teacher, Sam Harvill arrived at his base in New York last weekend, and came home just in time for Veterans Day.
"I sent one message to Mrs. Townsend and she has flown with the rest of it. She's made all the arrangements. She's his kindergarten teacher here at St. Joe and has been absolutely wonderful the entire project," said Jenna Harvill, Jackson's mom.
Jackson said the one thing he wants to say to his dad is, "Thank you for protecting us."
Jackson said now that his dad is home, he's most looking forward to playing their favorite game, "wrestle."
When Sam is away, the family said it's hard on all of them, but they're grateful for the time they do have.
"It's really hard. I don't know how single mothers do it, but we definitely are lucky with technology as well. With different soldiers and different times, we weren't able to have Facetime back in the day, so that's been tremendous," Jenna Harvill said.
For now, Harvill is making the most of the time he has with his family, and for Jackson, that meant getting the rest of the day off of school.
Sam Harvill said he's only back for the weekend, but will get more leave, and be home for the Holidays.