Big Surprise At The Willow River School

By KBJR News 1

April 22, 2012 Updated Apr 22, 2012 at 9:41 PM CST

Willow River, MN A special home coming for the kids of one soldier.
The four sons of Sergeant John Backstrand thought they were going to a fundraiser event.But it turned out to be much more than that.

"I like to wrestle with him, because he likes to wrestle with us", said Carlos Backstrand. Sgt. Backstrand's six year old son.

While attending a Boy Scout Troop fundraiser at the Willow River Area School, we met with the Backstrand family.

"My favorite part is watching T.V. with dad" (watching T.V.?) "Ya" (do you have a favorite show?) "Spongebob", said Sgt. Backstrands son Julian.

For the almost the entire last year, Carlos and his brothers, Nicholas, Julian, and Damien have been missing their dad

"I love daddy, I would say I love you", commented Carlos after asked what he would say to his dad if he had the chance.

Their father Supply Sergeant John Backstrand of the 94th Calvary has been gone for ten months serving in Kuwait.

But what the kids don't know....is that their father is finally home.

The Backstrands are one of the many families in the Northland with a member returning home from one of the biggest National Guard deployments since World War II.
After pulling in to Cloquet just hours before...Sergeant Backstrand is now just happy to hold his kids.

"I was just excited to see my kids and my wife. It's been several months without seeing them except actually talking to them on the computer. It's nice to actually hold them, and play with them", said John.

And dad isn't the only one who is happy to finally be together again...

"I can't wait to wrestle him and challenge daddy at home, and see if I can win him. I'm going to scare him away with my big muscles", said Carlos.

With the children excited the Backstands sat back and enjoyed the donkey basketball show...but after that...

"We'll probably go home and wrestle to get some of the energy out of them", said Sgt. Backstrand.

Natalie Backstrand works at the Willow River School and said that setting this up was easy once she found out the date of her husband John's return.

Written and Posted by Shawn Frost
sfrost@northlandsnewscenter.com