NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – After spending most of the year across the world and away from his family, US Navy veteran Joshua Skapura had the surprise of a lifetime for his 7-year-old daughter at Clear Spring Elementary.
It was a reunion Josh and his daughter, Evelyn, have patiently waited for and won’t soon forget.
According to the Comal Independent School District, Josh has had short visits with his family for months at a time all year long. That is until Monday when everything changed.
Josh had previously recorded a video that was shared on the morning announcements at the elementary school.
In the video, Josh said he’s spent the better part of last year in different parts of Africa and the distance hasn’t been easy.
“This time away has been really hard for me and Evelyn. I miss her every single day and I can’t wait to get back and I just want to say that I love you, baby girl. Happy Veterans Day to everybody,” he said in the video.
Seconds later, Josh opened the door of his daughter’s second-grade classroom with his arms wide open, ready for a tear-filled hug.
“The sacrifices that military families make were evident in their embrace,” the school district said.
Josh gave thanks to Comal ISD for helping in the surprise reunion and said it was all worth the wait.
“I feel honored and appreciated to be recognized by the school,” Josh said. “It meant the world to my wife, my daughter and me to be recognized for the sacrifices we’ve all made in my time being away both in the military and as a contractor.”
Josh served as a Navy SEAL for 12 years, from 2008 to 2020, according to Comal ISD. He is now a government contractor, traveling frequently around the world to aid other nations.
His surprise visit comes days before Veterans Day, which falls on Nov. 11. Josh said his family lineage has other veterans that will be remembered on that day as well.
“There is a long line of heroes that came before me for this great nation who have given their time and lives, along with those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and Veterans Day belongs to them,” said Josh.
Josh’s father served in the Army and his grandparents served in World War II, he told Comal ISD.
“I am honored to have served my country. The remembrance for those that have served is greatly appreciated.”
You can watch the video of their reunion below: