Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Air Force Mom Returns Home from Afghanistan, Surprises Daughter

Written By: Renata Stiehl

Tech Sgt. Sherri Knotts Surpises Daughter at School

Mom Surprises Daughter
     AVOCA, NY (WENY) -- A mother and daughter reunited, and the surprise of a lifetime.
     An Air Force sergeant returns home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan to surprise her daughter. Tech Sgt. Sherri Knotts deployed to Afghanistan in March of last year, where she spent time training Afghan military at Kabul International Airport. While she was working to stabilize the country, her daughter waited patiently for her mother's safe return.
     Other than a two week leave at the end of August, Sgt. Knotts had to be away from her eight year old daughter for a year; that all came to an end today.
     Students at Avoca Elementary school filed into the gym this morning, to celebrate the end of a month-long focus on music. While the high school chorus sang, second grader Alex Knotts remained blissfully unaware this whole assembly was set up just for her. Her mother, Air Force Tech Sgt. Sherri Knotts returned home from Afghanistan a week early - and was waiting in the wings to surprise her daughter.
     The students and faculty broke out into applause as Alex ran into her mother's arms. Sgt. Knott received a hero's welcome, and shared hugs and tears with her family. She says she couldn't have pulled off the surprise without the support of the Avoca Central School District.      "It's just such a special moment, I was happy to be able to do it in a great way like that, at the school. They've been great to her and to us, so it was a great opportunity," said Sgt. Knotts.
     And the reunion wasn't the only surprise in store for Alex.
     "She doesn't know it yet but we're gonna go to Disney World... now she knows!" said Sgt. Knotts.
     Alex was too camera shy to tell us how happy she was to have her mom home, but words weren't necessary.
     Sgt. Knotts says keeping the secret under wraps was incredibly hard. She talked with Alex often, and couldn't let on that she had returned to the U.S. from Afghanistan. Alex thought her mother would be coming home for Easter.
     Now that she's home, she wants some quality time with family, and some great food before she and Alex prepare for her next mission - a three year stint in Germany, where they'll go as a family.