By Tamas Mondovics

There is no shortage of clever ways that some military parents come up with to surprise their entire family or just the unsuspecting children upon returning home from a lengthy service overseas. Such occasions never fail to touch the heart and bring tears of joy for those that share in the emotionally charged family reunion.

To surprise his children by returning one day early from a lengthy military-based assignment in Afghanistan, FishHawk resident Clay Adams arrived on a helicopter that landed in the girls’ schoolyard at FishHawk Creek Elementary.

It took only a moment for 12-year-old Regen Adams and her siblings, Morgan, 7 and Jordan, 5, to realize what was happening as they watched the chopper descend.

“It’s DAD,” Regen screamed as the revelation launched a mad dash to reach dad.

The last time the girls saw their dad, was almost eight months ago, long overdue for some much needed affection.

“Daddy, are you staying, or do you have to go back,” Morgan asked, while the girls, all at once buried their father in hugs and kisses.

Preparation for the surprise began a few weeks prior, with a neighbor and family friend, Jim Longfield, who conveniently, also happens to be a helicopter pilot.

“Alisa, asked me if it would be possible to fly Clay home on a chopper from Tampa International Airport and land on the girls school yard as a surprise,” Longfield said. “Of course, I did not hesitate to make it happen. It feels great to be a part of such a special occasion.”

Alisa agreed just moments after the R44 Chopper touched down.

“This is just fabulous,” she said during the emotional reunion. “It is nice to know that he is safe. I couldn’t have asked for anything better for the holidays. The best part is that Clay has no plans on leaving us anytime soon.”

As the hugs morphed into posing for the cameras that hoped of capturing the special moment, Clay acknowledged his own feelings of the event and what it was really about.

“This was a fantastic welcome,” he said. “It is wonderful to see my girls and it is great to be home.”

Although he knew that it was going to be hard to top his grand aerial arrival, his wife Alisa had something special planned for the family as they made their way home together.

For more information about the event or FishHawk Creek Elementary, visit


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