Mansfield students welcome back teacher in Air Force - Dallas News |

Mansfield students welcome back teacher in Air Force with surprise

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A military member who's also a teacher and a coach received a hero's welcome Monday as he returned from serving four months in Afghanistan.

Students and staff at Linda Jobe Middle School in Mansfield surprised Air Force Sgt. Troy Harvey with a pep rally in his honor.

Harvey thought he was walking into a celebration for the start of track season, but his students planned the surprise for his return from the Middle East.

Harvey is a technical sergeant with 26 years of service, and the school's 7th and 8th grade students say things weren't the same without him while he was gone.

"We just seem more happy," said student Dezirae Rodriguez. "He's a ball of joy…brings happiness whenever he comes."

Students sent cards and letters to the Middle East for Coach Harvey and his Air Force unit.

Harvey brought a souvenir with him -- a flag flown over Afghanistan.

He said it was difficult to express his emotions about the pep rally, but his feelings were written on his face during Monday's surprise as he was overcome by the outpouring of affection.

It's only fair that Harvey was surprised.

Last week, as part of his return to the states, he and his wife popped in on his son, Ryan's, college campus at the University of Tampa.

The reunion took place during what Ryan thought was a regular fraternity meeting.          

Afterward, the Harvey family got to make up for lost time.

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