Karisma and Phillip Gallardo are sister and brother who live in Covington, Ky. They spent Saturday night attending the Cincinnati Cyclones-Evansville IceMen ECHL game with other members of their family. Their father, Phillip, was not in attendance due to an Army deployment in Afghanistan ... or so the kids thought.
Before the game, Karisma and Phillip were led to center ice for what they thought was going to be a regular ceremonial puck drop. It turned into much more than that:
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Good on the Cyclones for helping arrange this fantastic reunion. It's pretty impossible not to get that dust-in-the-eye feeling when seeing these moments happen, knowing what the families have to go through.
While Gallardo and his children shone in the spotlight on Saturday night, it was actually the other woman on the ice, Gallardo’s ex-wife and the kids’ mother, Fawn, who put the surprise reunion together
She got the idea after Karisma let it be known that she wanted a big surprise when her father returned, just like the other soldiers’ families she saw featured on TV and online.
“I’d planned on getting tickets to the [Cyclones] game on Saturday,” said Fawn Gallardo. “When I found out that he was flying in on Saturday, I thought, ‘It doesn’t get any better than that.”
According to ABC, the kids were under the impression that their dad would be returning home in April, but now he'll stay with them until March 19, when he goes back to his base in Kansas. This was Gallardo's fourth deployment and and he hadn't seen his children is over a year.
“It was extra nice to be able to surprise them,” he said. The best part was just being able to come out on the ice and to see their reaction when they saw me coming out.”
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