It was the last thing 8-year-old Elianna Tenorio was expecting at her team practice -- to see her dad.
Tenorio is the smallest member of the Mustang’s Pop Warner Pee Wee Lasso Dance Team, but she was the one with the biggest surprise in store Monday evening.
For the last thirteen months her father has been serving in a medevac unit in Afghanistan.
“It's emotional because I know what her dad means to her,” said Elianna’s mom, Ellie Valle. “This is his third tour we've had to go through and this is the one that got to her the most.”
As the team practiced, Staff Sgt. Benny Tenorio waited behind a storage shed on the fields of St. Paul Community Center. When it was time, he walked to the other side to surprise Eliann -- a moment that left her speechless and in tears, but all smiles.
“Just to feel them, hug them, see their emotions when they see me, it was awesome, awesome,” said Tenorio. “I just want to take her now and just get lost for a little bit.”
But first, she showed him the roping skills she’s learned while he was away. After practice, it was all about what dad and daughter can now do together.
“I want to take her to SeaWorld. And she loves to fish, so I’m planning on taking her to the coast,” Tenorio said. “We've got all the time in the world.”