One local family thought they were being recognized for their participation in a fundraiser and to receive an award on the football field Friday night, but instead, they got the surprise of a lifetime.
For the past year, Sgt. First Class Pablo Ureste has been serving our country in South Korea while his family was back home in Belton. During Friday's football game, he dressed up as Belton's mascot and surprised his family on the field.
"Representing Sgt. Ureste is his wife Beatriz Ureste, his daughter Arianna who attends Belton New Tech High School and his sons, Pablo and Andy, who attend Sparta Elementary," the announcer said over the loudspeaker before the Belton vs. Killeen high school football game.
"Ladies and gentleman, please welcome home Sgt. Pablo Ureste," the announcer continued on.
In the video, you can see Sgt. Ureste pull off the mascot head, and his family begins to cry.
When Sgt. Ureste's wife got the chance to visit him while he was overseas, he came up with the idea to surprise his family.
"It's a lot of anticipation. For the past 24-48 hours, I've been communicating with my wife via text telling her we had connection issues so I wasn't able to FaceTime her like normal, and it was all leading up to today's moment. And when I did see them, it was very difficult not to go up to them, grab them, hug them, kiss them, but it was well worth it," Sgt. Ureste said.
"I honestly thought that it was a dream maybe and that I just fell asleep. It was just amazing like literally, my world is completed now. We finally have my dad back, and everything is going to return back to normal," Sgt. Ureste's daughter, Arianna, said.
But, Sgt. Ureste wasn't the only one who made a sacrifice over the past 12 months.
"Christmas he wasn't there, birthdays he missed, a lot of special occasions happened and then he also wasn't here for my ninth grade year, starting high school so it really stung a little bit, but it was okay because I knew was gonna return back home," Arianna added.
And return home, he did. Now, Ureste family is finally back together.
"It's the best feeling in the world, honestly. I've never been happy, like this happy before."
Sgt. Ureste has served in the U.S. Army for 20 years having previously serving combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He will now be stationed at Fort Hood.
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