A surprise reunion

PHOTOS: U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Jessie Figueroa surprises her daughter, Samantha, 7, and son Randee, 5, on Thursday morning at the beginning of Kihei Elementary School’s Ho’olaulea. First-grader Samantha was “randomly” called on stage to present a lei to a special visitor and out walked her mom. There weren’t many dry eyes watching the reunion as Samantha ran to wrap her arms around her mother. After their hug, they called Randee on stage for his own hug. “That was great,” the happy mom said. “I was crying even before I got on stage.”

The 10-year Navy veteran had been deployed to the Mediterranean Sea with a Strike Fighter Squadron. She said that she hadn’t seen her children for eight months. She said that returning to the grade school she attended as a child, and the field where she performed in May Day celebrations, brought back many fond memories. “It really brings me back to my childhood,” she said. “Stuff like this, it brings it back.”