U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Schroeder of Lake Barrington planned to surprise his 4-year-old son, William, with his return for a two-week leave from a yearlong deployment to South Korea.
Instead, it was Schroeder who received the surprise of a lifetime Wednesday when he arrived at St. Anne Parish School in Barrington to drop in on his son's pre-Kindergarten class.
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Schroeder was greeted by the school's band playing the Star Spangled Banner and cheered on by students lining the hallway.
"I've been in Korea for six and a half months," said Schroeder, who grew up in Rolling Meadows. "It was actually my wife's idea coming back to his school and surprising him, the rest of this stuff is a surprise, I had no idea about any of this, It's been shocking and an honor."
After a tearful reunion with his son, Schroeder sat down as his wife, Irma, read the book "Hero Dad" by Melinda Hardin to the class.
"I'm just really excited to have him home," Irma said.