Local soldier returns from duty and makes surprise visit at school

CLARKSTON, WA - A soldier came home Thursday and surprised his children at Parkway Elementary School in Clarkston.

This day has been a long time coming for US Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew Collins and his family.

"Being away from home is always difficult," said Collins.

Difficult and trying.

"This is my fourth deployment, so they're kind of used to it." said Collins. "But each time's been a little different and each time's been difficult for all of us."

Collins is back home after three years of deployment in Afghanistan, for good.

"This is my second one back from Afghanistan in a month," said Collins.

Anticipation and excitement.

"Daddy!" said daughters.

Passing the tests of patience and hardship.

"I was really surprised and I was filled with joy and happiness," said Brianna.

"I was so surprised!" said daughter Emily.

It's a battle fought and won for the Collins family. Home at last. The Collins family said they're most looking forward to the simple things because that's what they missed most.