North Texas soldier surprises sons at school pep rally

A Mesquite dad serving his country in the Persian Gulf returned home to surprise his two sons at school. He even pulled it off hiding in plain sight.

Technical Sgt. Cesar Martinez recently returned from deployment and suited up as the Pirrung Elementary School jaguar to surprise his boys.

The Woodrow Wilson High School grad joined the Air Force Reserve 17 years ago and served in Baghdad, Kuwait and finally Qatar.

“Back in 911 when that happened, I was really mad and I said nobody comes and picks on us,” Martinez said.

Monday's school pep rally was the perfect cover to shock fifth-grader Gabriel and third-grader Gavin.

Gabriel said not a day went by that he didn't think of his dad.

“I prayed that he won’t get a heat stroke or run out of water,” he said. “And I kept praying every night that he’d come home safely and return to his family. And here I am. See how those prayers get answered.”

Now, a family is looking forward to making up for lost time.