Iraq Soldier Returns to Yakima and Surprises His Family - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Iraq Soldier Returns to Yakima and Surprises His Family

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YAKIMA, Wa.- A solider is back home tonight after serving overseas since September. He surprised his family with his homecoming.

In Iraq he's known as Specialist Bryan VanRooyen but over the next 14 days he's back home in Yakima, and here he's just called dad.

"I'm just trying to hold on to him and the next two weeks," said Christy VanRooyen, Bryan's wife.

Bryan deployed to Iraq over seven months ago. His wife Christy says since then, her kids haven't stopped asking for him.

"They're constantly  like where's daddy, where's daddy, when's he coming home," said Christy VanRooyen.

Cala is the oldest of three and turns seven in two weeks. Monday started like any other day for her at school, but that quickly changed. She was blind-folded and got her birthday present early.

"Daddy," said Cala Vanrooyen.

Even though Bryan gets to surprise her this birthday, he says the hardest part about being in the army is being away from the ones you love.

"Just being able to touch them, hug them and just be with them, the connection over seas just isn't the same," said VanRooyen.

While the next two weeks will be great, Christy admits the last few months have been hard.

"There's so much stress and worry all the time and two of our kids have special needs and that's an extra stress," said Christy VanRooyen.

Cala and her dad hold on tight to each other today, but they all know it's not for good.

"I'm just here visiting," said VanRooyen.

When he leaves, a part of the family will go too.

"They all took it pretty hard when he left the first time, I'm dreading...it's going to be hard," said Christy VanRooyen.

"It was probably one of the saddest days for the family," said VanRooyen.

Christy and Bryan say they plan on going out of town for a few days to spend quality time with the family. Afterwards Bryan will return to Iraq.
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