Military homecoming gives the gift of family

Christmas concert turns into a Christmas miracle

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Between the small, slightly off-key voices and reindeer ears, it appears to be a Christmas concert like any other.

Except on Thursday at the one inside the gym of Red Rock Elementary — this concert was anything but ordinary.

“We kind of built the show around his coming home ceremony,” Principal Peter Dwyer said.

Inside a closet backstage was a big secret. One that’s been kept for two months from one very unsuspecting second grader named Braxton.

"He went through a very small list of toys and the number one thing he wanted was his dad home for Christmas,” Dwyer said.

Braxton’s dad, Ashley Viall, has been away on an 18-month deployment in Korea and wouldn’t make it home for the holidays.

Then, in October he found out he would be able to come home for leave. So, Viall and his wife decided they would plan a surprise, that teachers and Dwyer got in on it as well.

But to keep up the rouse, Viall wrote his son a little letter. One that was half read by school administrators and then finished when Viall walked out on stage.

The crowd erupted in cheers as Braxton stood in shock seeing his dad stand in front of him.

Ashley Viall, an airman in the U.S. Air Force, surprised his son, Braxton, at a homecoming ceremony masqueraded as a Christmas concert on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.
Ashley Viall, an airman in the U.S. Air Force, surprised his son, Braxton, at a homecoming ceremony masqueraded as a Christmas concert on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (Source: KOLD News 13)

It was a little bit of confusion, shock and happy tears mixed all together.

“I was super happy," the boy said.

“It meant tremendous amount. Being able to make this guy all happy and giddy. I know he wanted me home,” Viall said.

Now this family is ready to celebrate a Christmas that will be anything unlike any other.

“It means a lot and I’m happy that I get to spend the holidays with family,” Viall said.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.