Military mom surprises daughters at school

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) Two sisters at Valerie Elementary got a sweet treat this afternoon during a school assembly.

Sergeant Naysheelia Mitchell has been counting down the days. she spent the last 365 days in Korea as a unit supply specialist with the Army. She was supposed to arrive in Dayton six days from now but made it back late last night for a special surprise.

Sitting patiently in the gym Toni Gaddis thinks she’s in a normal school assembly. She even volunteered when two sisters were asked to help with some magic. With all the students waving American Flags it was time for eight year old Danyelle and 10 year old Toni turn around.

“I thought you were coming later,” says Danyelle. “I was give me another hug. I was supposed too. I tricked you,” Mitchell said.

A trick that ended up being a big treat. The entire student body cheered as this family was finally reunited after one long year of being apart.

“I was surprised I thought it wasn’t real,” Danyelle Gaddis said.

“When he said do you want to see a magic trick I thought the rope was going to disappear,” Toni Gaddis said.

Instead her mom was there holding pink roses, her favorite color. Both girls have been living with their father and grandmothers during Mitchell’s deployment. Facetime and phone calls were all they had.

When asked what she missed most about her mom being away Danyelle said hugs.

For this 8 year Army veteran this homecoming is bittersweet.

“I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan but this is the longest I’ve been away from them. It makes it easier to Facetime and talk to them but they’re getting older and they’re busy. So talking on the phone is slim to none,” Mitchell said.

Now that they’re no longer separated by an ocean they have time to make up for all those missed hugs. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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