Navy officer surprises family at Mud Hens game on 4th of July - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Navy officer surprises family at Mud Hens game on 4th of July

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A local family received a big surprise at the Mud Hens game Thursday night.

It was supposed to be a family reunion at the airport on Friday, July 5, but Chief Petty Officer David Schuster of the U.S. Navy wanted to do things a little differently.

The Schuster and Ricard families were brought to Fifth Third Field to see a special message from Schuster.

"They told me he was going to get a Hometown Heroes award," explained Schuster's mother Pat Ricard.

While watching the video – which was taped three days before on the flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower – they had no idea what was coming.

"He was there," Ricard said tearfully. "It's hard to say. I haven't seen him in almost two years, so it was nice seeing him. I miss him."

"I've never done anything like that before in my life," Schuster said of his part. "Just to surprise somebody to that caliber is amazing…[It's] just as heartwarming to be the person involved with the military homecoming as it is to watch it on TV."

A Berkey native, Schuster has been serving in the Navy for 13 years, and is returning home from a 9-month tour. A single dad of two daughters, he says he couldn't have asked for a better day to pull off the surprise.

"A lot of people forget. We have Independence Day, and we have a military that's always fought for us, and having a homecoming on the Fourth of July is just the epitome of it," he said.

"He's very dedicated to his job, he loves the Navy," Ricard said. "And he's a very dedicated dad, and he's just – [I] couldn't be more proud of him."

Welcome home, Chief Petty Officer Schuster, and happy Independence Day.

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