Linesville soldier surprises kids with early return from The Meadville Tribune on Video.
By Penni Schaefer
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.
Students wanted to know, in particular, if McLean had received their individual letters.
“I received them all and I read every single one,” he said with a smile.
Immediately after departing Linesville, the whole McLean family then made the short trip to greet the youngest member of the McLean family, Cole, who was napping at Country Season Child Care.
Unbeknownst to him, the tiny toddler, awakened from his slumber, walked right past his dad. Then, in a split-second moment of recognition, he wrapped his arms around McLean’s leg and yelled, “Daddy!” In a heartbeat he was in his arms.
Lori, who works at Meadville Medical Center, has been grateful for all of the help that she has received from family during her husband’s six-month deployment. And once his upcoming 20-year retirement ceremony is over in January, she looks forward to life returning to normal.
“It’s so nice to have him home with us again, though it hasn’t really sunken in yet!” she said. “It seems like we’ve been waiting for such a long time.”
The next order of business for McLean, whose area of expertise is in information technology, will be to find employment close to home. His goal is to continue working in the field of network security and administration so the family can continue living in the community that has provided such an outpouring of emotional support for the entire family.
Penni Schaefer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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