(WBIR-Knoxville) An East Tennessee Marine hasn't been home in more than 8 months, but this week, he knocked out not one, but two surprises.
Private First Class Austin Schmitt has been stationed in California since January
He surprised his 8-year old sister Elia at Hardin Valley Elementary School on Monday. The surprise was extra special for Elia, who was just recently diagnosed with a chronic allergy illness. It was obvious his adopted sister holds a special place in his heart.
"We first got her when she was two months old. I was the first one to hold her in my arms. Ever since then I've just felt really close to her," said PFC Schmitt.
He also surprised his mom when he showed up at home.
"I had no idea he was going to come home before he heads to the next station he's going to which is in Hawaii. I had no idea. He just showed up. I was outside when the dogs started barking. I went to see who it was and he got out of the car so it was super exciting," said mom Beverly Kumher.
Austin will head to Hawaii in mid-September and be stationed there for three years