Meadville Tribune

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December 17, 2008

VIDEO: Linesville soldier's return surprises kids

Linesville soldier surprises kids with early return from The Meadville Tribune on Video.

By Penni Schaefer

Meadville Tribune

LINESVILLE — There was barely a dry eye among those who witnessed the heart-warming early-Christmas reunion of a Linesville family after Scott McLean, a chief petty officer in the Navy, made a surprise visit to Alice Schafer Elementary School Thursday to greet his two oldest sons Cameron, 8 and Clayton, 6. An encore secret visit followed shortly thereafter at the daycare center for his youngest son, Cole, 4.

The painstakingly orchestrated event at the school in Linesville was planned by teachers Beth Dilley and Melissa Parker, as well as by Lori Walker McLean, who grew up in Linesville. Not only is she the wife of a veteran, but she is a Navy veteran herself.

After McLean entered the room, under the guise of being a “special guest” for the class, both McLean boys jumped out of their seats and ran to their father’s side, with eyes moistened by tears of joy.

Scott, Lori and their two older sons joined together for a short-lived group hug as the classroom, filled with first- and second-grade students cheered.

“Both boys talk about their dad all of the time and how much they miss him,” Dilley said, as she watched the family. “Cameron and Clayton knew that he was coming home, but they didn’t know when.”

Both Dilley and Parker have made McLean’s second tour of the Middle East into cross-curricular activities. They have worked his stay in Kuwait into their geography class and also all of the second-grade students have written letters. Parker’s first-graders have drawn pictures which were also mailed to McLean, who was stationed halfway across the globe.

During a little question-and-answer session, McLean finally got to meet the anxious tots of Alice Schafer. Students had lots of questions, such as, “Did you see any camels? They spit on you, you know ...” and “Did you see any spiders? Snakes? Scorpions?” and countless other questions about the food, the people, machine guns, cannons and even sandstorms.

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