Air Force staff sergeant surprises family at San Antonio Zoo after 500+ days of separation

Family says they ‘could not have dreamed up a better reunion’

SAN ANTONIO – A military family’s trip to the San Antonio Zoo quickly transformed into a “magical” surprise when they were reunited with their father, an Air Force member who had been overseas.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Trymaine Kelley surprised his three kids near the giraffes on Thursday after more than 500 days apart, according to the San Antonio Zoo.

“I could not have dreamed up a better reunion after 507 days of military separation,” said his wife, Megan Kelley, in a news release. “Thank you to the zoo for making this day so magical for our kids. They will remember this day for years to come. We are so grateful for this experience.”

The release stated that during Trymaine Kelley’s last visit, the reunion lasted less than a week due to COVID-19.

Now, he’s “here for good,” the Zoo said in a video posted online. You can see the full reunion in the video above.

After the surprise, the family fed giraffes and hippos, toured the zoo and met with the zoo’s mascot, Cowboy.

“We are incredibly grateful to be a part of such a special homecoming surprise for the Kelley family,” president and CEO Tim Morrow said. “The pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us. For Staff Sgt. Kelley to have left before the start of that crisis; I can only imagine how that added to the hardships for him overseas and his family here in the United States.”

“We are honored to be a part of their family, if only for a day, and I can’t say thank you enough for all their sacrifices.”

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.