FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- We've seen heartwarming videos on social media of service men and women returning from abroad and surprising their children when they return home. On Wednesday, Jan. 15, it was one of our very own neighbors, Capt. Patrick Moore, a U.S. Army reservist, who received hugs from the children he had not seen in a year.
The homecoming was orchestrated by Michele Moore with assistance from the Fanwood Police, who provided an escort from Newark Airport, as well as the Board of Education and School One principal Justin Fiory. The tricky part for her was not knowing exactly what day and time the plane would arrive.
Aided by abnormally high temperatures, Fiory announced that an emergency evacuation drill would take place and that all teachers and students, including 9-year-old twins Reland and Spencer Moore, would line up outside in the back of the school. The children waited until several police vehicles, including one carrying Capt. Moore, rushed into the parking lot.
Then came the "big reveal."
Captain Moore was mobilized on Feb. 9, 2019, and was stationed in Texas before heading to a location in "southwest Asia" in April. It was the second time that Reland and Spencer were without their dad for an extended period of time and Capt. Moore's third deployment overall with the HHC 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB).
At first the children seemed to be in disbelief, and then rushed to hug their father. It seemed like Reland might never let him go.
"He never missed one day calling the kids while he was gone," Michele Moore told TAPintoSPF.
"This went better than expected, and the kids are so happy," said after the touching reunion. "I was glad to make an exciting memory for them after a hard year."
For now, Capt. Moore's plans to celebrate his twins' birthday, which he missed while he was away. On Tuesday, he will return to his job for the first time in almost a year.