Soldier surprises young daughters at birthday party in Cherry Hill

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It was a surprise like no other for two sisters today in Cherry Hill. (WPVI)

It was a surprise like no other for two sisters today in Cherry Hill.

What they thought would be a birthday party turned into something so much more.

Little Pearl celebrated her 2nd birthday Thursday with her class at the Katz Jewish Community Center.

She was excited to have her big sister, 3-year-old Estelle, come for the party, but the big surprise for these girls was still to come when Daddy, Joe Kern, walked into the room.

Estelle went right into Daddy's arms.

Pearl went right to Grandpa.

Again, she's turning two.

The girls haven't seen their father since June 16th.

He's a Sergeant First Class with the New Jersey National Guard stationed in Qatar.

He missed Estelle's third birthday.

"Which really stinks and I said to myself I didn't want to miss two birthdays in one year so Sarah and I spoke about it and I said - you know what? I am going to come home," Joe said.

Mom, Sarah, agreed it should be a surprise, but the girls are young and she wasn't sure how they would react.

"Pearl doesn't remember him 100%, and I think we thought she would have a bigger reaction, but seeing Estelle's face, she was in complete shock. It's now sinking in that he's here," Sarah said.

He's only here until Tuesday when Kern flies back overseas, five days to spend with his daughters who've changed so much since he's been away.

Estelle is taller. Pearl is walking more and talking now.

Kern's deployment ends in May.

His family will be counting the days until he's home for good.

"It makes you understand that being home is better than being away," Joe said.

Joe Kern also surprised his own mother at a restaurant Thursday evening, see that video below.

The biggest reaction of all may have come from the family's dog, Lilly.

She was super excited to have him home.

Related Topics:
familyn.j. newssoldiershomecomingsurprisesoldier surpriseCherry Hill
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