VIDEO: Returning Soldier Surprises Daughter

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A local armed services member surprised his daughter at school Thursday, as she was unaware he was back from a stint in the Middle East.

Staff Sgt. Tim Downing just returned from Afghanistan after an eight-month tour.

He saw his daughter for the first time in almost a year while surprising her at an assembly at Mary Mae Jones Elementary School in Bentonville. The sergeant and the kindergartner wrapped their arms around each other while students and staff looked on.

Downing said now that he is home, the two have big plans.

"We made a date, a few months ago, whenever I got back...I was going to pick her up--- we're gonna go to Build-A-Bear (a teddy bear workshop), and then we're gonna eat a whole bunch of oatmeal," he said. "And then she saved me a Valentine's Day brownie... and I'm going to eat that."

He said deployment is difficult on him and his family, especially when a parent has to leave a child behind.

The soldier will likely be deployed to Germany later this year.