LAWTON, Okla._After coming back to Lawton from a nine month deployment to the United Arab Emirates, Staff Sergeant Timothy Hannifan and his wife headed down to Flower Mound School to surprise their children.
Seth, Tim and Zoey had no idea what was about to happen as they sat in the gym today waiting for the awards assembly to end. Their principal, teachers and of course their parents all knew what was about to happen, their dad walked into the gym with their mom, who they thought was sick and at the doctor. This was Staff Sergeant Timothy Hannifan's third deployment and he wanted to make this homecoming a surprise.
"I just wanted them to remember me coming home, not that they would ever forget that but we wanted to make it extra special," said SSG Hannifan.
Their mom, Kelley Hannifan, kept on telling the kids that their dad was coming home in two weeks whenever they would ask.
When asked what they were most excited to do now that their dad is home they responded with the typical joys.
"Fight. Wrestle. Go swimming, a lot. Camping. Anything that deals with my family, I'm down to do," said the three Hannifan kids.
While this wasn't Hannifan's first deployment this was the first one since his children were old enough to understand what he was doing.
"I started teaching here this year and I've been so busy with them and teaching that this deployment has flown by. It's always a struggle when you're a single parent and working with three kids and I admire anyone that can do it," said Kelley.
"She's done a spectacular job, I couldn't ask for a better wife and for a better mother," said SSG Hannifan.
Hannifan said he was busy most of his deployment but in free time he was always thinking about his family.
"They were on my mind quite a bit. It was hard to do much of anything if I wasn't thinking about them at the time," Hannifan recalled.
Because Hannifan had such little free time during the deployment, he said he wasn't able to talk to his children very much, since that free time usually came very late at night.