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Home from Afghanistan is happy surprise

Posted: September 23, 2013 7:16 p.m.
Updated: September 23, 2013 7:16 p.m.

Pfc. Emily Dauer, 20, center, hugs her sisters, Skyler Hewitt, 7, and McKenna Hewitt, 6, in the multi-purpose room at Rosedell Elementary School on Monday. Photo by Charlie Kaijo.

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Private First Class and Saugus resident Emily Dauer had no idea how she would greet her two little sisters Monday upon her return home after seven months of service in Afghanistan.

She learned only 10 minutes before her arrival at Rosedell Elementary School she would be surprising them during a presentation for the girls’ first- and second-grade classes.

Pfc. Dauer appeared from behind a curtain in the multipurpose room where the presentation was taking place. McKenna Hewitt, 6, and Skylar Hewitt, 7, her little sisters, ran up to the stage for a long hug.

“When I saw McKenna and Skylar, they didn’t let go. I didn’t want to either,” Pfc. Dauer said.

Her mother and sister arranged the surprise visit with Principal Jeff Pettipas.

“About a week ago, Emily’s mother notified us that she’d be arriving from Afghanistan today, so we were brainstorming ways for her to surprise her sisters,” he said just before her arrival.

“When she visits, she’ll come in her military gear and talk to the students about what the medals mean, what the colors mean and what she was doing in Afghanistan.”

The soldier’s mother, Kari Dauer-Hewitt, is a member of Blue Star Mothers of America, an assistance and education organization for military servicemen and women and their families.

“Soldiers who are leaving need to feel the support of the community, and I don’t see that enough in Santa Clarita sometimes,” she said.

She urged parents of children on active duty to contact the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers to offer or receive support at 661-200-8000.

For Pfc. Dauer, serving overseas has made her more appreciative of family and made her realize how close she was to her siblings.

“My sister McKenna is pretty much my buddy. She’d call me every day and say, ‘I miss you, I miss you.’”

Pfc. Dauer is on active duty until 2018 and will serve in the Army reserves until 2020.




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