Seven-year-old Gavin Firmstone got a surprise ride home from Huth Road Elementary School Thursday.
CM3 Chris Weatherston, U.S. Navy, Gavin's uncle, surprised his nephew and classmates in Frances Burczynski's second grade class with a visit at 3 p.m. just before the last bell. Gavin hadn't seen his uncle since Christmastime when the Navy construction mechanic third class left for training, and won't see him again for several months after Weatherston deploys again to Afghanistan to work with the Navy Seabees.
Weatherston, pictured at center with his nephew to his right, had five days of leave before shipping out. He visited Gavin at Huth Road, also his elementary school alma mater, with his mother Patti Weatherston. Gavin "idolizes his uncle," Patti said.
Huth Road Principal Kerri Nowak said visits from servicemen and women teach all the students "to be able to recognize and appreciate the service of others. For the people who defend our country, we just can't thank them enough."
She said that whenever the governor orders flags go to half staff for the death of a New Yorker in a combat zone, she makes a point to shares the news of what is "a life sacrifice of one of our countrymen. The people who come back represent all those who have not, so the more that we can celebrate them, the better."