Santa Claus coordinated a huge effort to bring about 220 soldiers home from deployment in Qatar to Tampa Bay, but one of those soldiers, had an even better gift for his son -- a surprise visit.
"I haven't seen him since February 23rd and I can't believe how big he has grown," said dad, Master Sgt. Patrick Marasco.
His wife, Deann, helped coordinate a special four-day pass to bring her husband and the other soldiers home. They needed $35,000 for the bus transportation, and the donations came pouring in once 10 News announced our local heroes were trying to come home for Christmas but needed help.
"It was not only hard to coordinate the whole thing with Patrick and his commanders within the unit, but then we wanted to keep it from our son," said Deann.
"I knew I couldn't surprise Deann because she works so closely with us being the volunteer Battalion Family Readiness Coordinator," said Patrick.
"I had families calling me constantly needing help coordinating, so I had to be careful with saying a certain date or a code because Adam has radar ears."
Adam had spent the night at his friend's house so he was not home yet when Patrick and Deann came home from the welcome home with the buses dropping the soldiers off in Plant City. They wanted to be home first to set up a Christmas tree with dad waiting by it to surprise Adam.
"I will answer the door and let him inside and he will walk through the hall to see the tree and dad by the big window," said Deann.
Adam walked in, and did not notice the 10 News camera hiding underneath the dining table. He walked into the kitchen and saw Dad sitting under the tree.
"Daddy?!" shouted Adam.
"Hi, Buddy!" responded Patrick. "What's up?! You are so big now! How tall are you now?"
Adam got his Christmas wish and so did his mom and dad.
"We just need to be together," said Deann.
Master Sgt. Marasco will spend four days at home and then goes back on deployment until early January. Then his deployment will be complete and he can come home permanently.
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