LI soldier surprises kids with homecoming

A Long Island soldier in the U.S. Air Force was reunited with his son and daughter Wednesday when he surprised them at their schools after spending four months overseas. Richard Berni, who is a local

News 12 Staff

May 14, 2009, 12:16 AM

Updated 5,550 days ago

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A Long Island soldier in the U.S. Air Force was reunited with his son and daughter Wednesday when he surprised them at their schools after spending four months overseas.
Richard Berni, who is a local firefighter from Eastport, went to his 5-year-old daughter Paige's classroom and tapped her on the shoulder while she worked. Paige, who thought she would be waiting an extra week before her father's return, was excited to see her dad and greeted him with a huge hug.
Berni's son, 8-year-old Jonathan, was among a crowd of students at his elementary school told a visitor was stopping by. Jonathan was shocked to see the visitor was his own father, and ran to greet him.
"It's a little surreal after all this time to see the little guys," Berni says. "It's a little tough to describe, it's a good feeling."
Berni's wife, Jessica, says she is ecstatic to have him back home after four long months. She says the children helped her get through the time while Berni was stationed at a U.S. Air Force base in Southwest Asia.
Berni will return to his job as a firefighter and plans to celebrate Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Easter with his family. He says he will also be taking his family to Disney World.


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