Connor, Kamrin and Corbin Markus received a special surprise last Friday at Rosa Park Elementary School’s weekly assembly.
The three siblings were called to the front to tell their classmates about their father Christopher Markus, a staff sergeant for the U.S. Air Force, and their upcoming move to Germany once his tour in South Korea is completed. The youngsters discussed how their father would be returning later this month — but then came the big surprise.
Dad showed up minutes later at the Redmond school and the family embraced in front of the student body.
“After being gone for so long it’s really nice to be home,” said Christopher, who admitted to a bad case of nerves beforehand. “I didn’t think I was going to be this nervous.”
And it was obvious his sons and daughter were thrilled as well. Six-year-old Corbin was all smiles afterwards. The kindergartner wasted no time catching up with his father, walking down the line and introducing his classmates who were sitting in the front row just mere seconds after he was released from the initial hug.
“I was so happy,” Corbin said.
But he wasn’t the only one vying for Christopher’s attention. Twin sister Kamrin and big brother Connor, 9, were equally excited about their father’s return, telling him jokes and discussing the foods they wanted to eat to celebrate — ice cream, of course.
“I was very, very surprised,” Kamrin said. “I missed him.”
Christopher’s wife Erin, who grew up in Redmond and graduated from Redmond High School, knew of his early arrival and had reunited with her husband the day before when he first arrived. She stayed on the sidelines to allow the children to enjoy their reunion, but was no less emotional than the rest of the Markus clan.
The family had hoped Christopher would be home before Connor’s ninth birthday, which was Feb. 8, but they weren’t sure. Erin said the kids were betting Christopher would arrive one day before the third-grader’s big day.
Christopher, who has been in the Air Force for 15 years and stationed throughout the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, had been gone for 12 months. He was on leave for three weeks before the school year began and stayed in contact with his family through Skype, a computer application that allows people to make voice and video calls as well as send text messages using the Internet instead of a phone.
“Skype is cool and everything,” he said. “But it’s not the real thing.”
Now that his tour is completed, the family has moved to Germany. They’ll be there for at least three years.
Connor said he is excited about the move, he’s not quite sure what he’ll enjoy the most.
“I’ll probably know when I get there,” he said.