Deploying Dad Surprises Daughter With School's Help: Photo Gallery

Army Spc. Robert Bick surprised his daughter Hannah at Mokena Elementary School with the help of the entire school body.

Hannah Bick never saw it coming.

The first-grader got a big surprise from her parents and the entire school body on Friday. With the school's help, Robert and Rebecca Bick picked up their daughter early Friday and had the entire school body decked in red, white and blue lining the halls to cheer their daughter out of the school.

What might just seem like the best start to a weekend ever had a somber purpose behind it. Army Spc. Robert Bick is leaving Monday for a nine-month deployment in Kuwait.

"She has her moments," Rebecca Bick said when asked how her daughter is handling the impending departure. "She's sad a lot. She misses him."

Robert Bick will be a medic while he is overseas. Rebecca is due in June for their third daughter, who they've named Raina. Robert will be able to come home for the birth, he said.

At about 11:20 a.m. Friday, the Bicks snuck into the school. Flanked by Principal Chris Clavenna and Assistant Principal Judy Splayt, the pair and their 1-year-old daughter Kiera made their way down to Mrs. Paez's class.

"Hannah, do you know who this is?" Mrs. Paez asked the surprised 8-year-old.

She did, running up to her father and giving him a gigantic hug.

After helping her dad answer the class' questions about Army life (Best response: "He's not a pirate" when a classmate asked if he spent a lot of time on ships), the Bicks left the class.

That's when Hannah got her second suprise: The entire student body decked in red, white and blue, chanting "USA! USA!" and singing patriotic songs to see her out of the building.

With tears in her eyes, Hannah walked out of the building together with her family, in preparation for a time apart.


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