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Sergeant went to thank them for gifts … and got a welcome-home party in return
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Marine Sgt. Andrew Valora walks towards students putting on a surprise party for him at Copper Creek Elementary School last week. The students "adopted" Valora and his squadron while they were deployed in Afghanistan during their last tour. He promised he would stop by and say thanks as soon as he returned home.
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Students at Copper Creek Elementary School sing "God Bless the U.S.A." to Sgt. Andrew Valora last week. While Valora was on a tour in Afghanistan, the students sent him a video of themselves singing the song.
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Marine Sgt. Andrew Valora listens to surprise-party organizer Lori Edwards at Copper Creek Elementary School last week.
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Along with food and music, each student, like 9-year-old Brandon Esbit, got their picture taken with Sgt. Andrew Valora.
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Marine Sgt. Andrew Valora gets a hug from 6-year-old Nicholas Strijdonk, right, and other students at during a surprise welcome-home party at Copper Creek Elementary School last week. Valora and his squadron were "adopted" by a 2nd-grade class last year. He stopped by last week to say "thanks," not knowing they would be throwing him a party.