Flyers help soldier present family with surprise homecoming gift (Video)

Joann and Mark Windish were expecting their son, Army PFC. Matthew, who's on a one-year tour of duty in Republic of Korea, to come home for the holidays next Friday. So when they were invited to Thursday night's Philadelphia Flyers game, they eagerly awaited to see a video tribute to Matthew on the Jumbotron, or so they were told.

What they received, instead, was in the form of a giant G.I. Joe figurine box and inside was the best holiday gift they could ask for: their son.

According to Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post, the Windish's other son, Chris, devised this plan while thinking of Christmas presents to give his family. When the Flyers agreed to the idea, the next step was a tricky one.

From the Courier-Post:

The hard part was hiding for a week. Chris’ friends held his brother hostage for a week and didn’t let the secret slip. It was especially difficult because his aunt, Patty Dennis, said she had a feeling Chris was home.

We can imagine once the excitement settled down, mom wanted to know why she had to wait a week to see her son.

These military homecomings at sporting events will never get old and never not cause you to feel like you've just cut some onions.

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Sean Leahy

is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!