Ames, IA – Army Sergeant James Chelios surprised his daughter Miranda at School on Monday with the announcement that the Stop-loss clause of his military contract had been put into effect and he would be involuntarily sent back to Afghanistan for 8-10 months.
“I contacted the PTA about a week ago after I found out that I’d be going back to that god-forsaken desert against my will,” Sgt. Chelios said of the local parents’ organization. “They decided to make this a more of a festive announcement instead of the heart-wrenching, brutal conversation that I would undoubtedly have to have with my daughter in private. So I dressed up like this Teddy Bear and they did the rest.”
Students at Milton. P. Pinchot Primary School gathered around for a presentation in the gymnasium that featured a DJ, a juggler and Wally Bear, a mascot aimed at promoting children’s fitness. As the presentation came to a close, Miranda Chelios was brought up to the stage to do a special “Workout with Wally”. The 6-year-old was shocked when Wally revealed himself to be her father and told her that he would be forced to spend the better part of next year in the unstable Helmand Province, a kill-box known for being a hot-bed of insurgent activity.
The first-grader was brought to tears when she first realized that the man in the costume was also the man who would be spending the next holiday season hiking sheer mountain cliffs in a faraway land, navigating broken roadways littered with IED’s.
“It was just so moving,” said Claire Roberson, head of the PTA. “We all wanted to chip in.”
Ed. Note – If this makes you angry or sad, then that makes two of us. Do something.