- Posted March 18, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Salute to families
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Returning Airman Surprises Kindergartner, Reads to Class
PEYTON, Colo. (March 18, 2014) -- When kindergarten teacher Ashley Mullins announced March 18 that a special guest had arrived for story time, her classroom energized with speculation.
Connor Baldwin, 6, offered suggestions for the classroom at Meridian Ranch International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49, such as a close schoolmate. But when Mullins knocked on a nearby door, Air Force Master Sgt. Nicole Baldwin opened it.
"That's my mom," said Connor, who had been telling his schoolmates about his mother's inevitable homecoming. A reservist assigned to the 39th Aerial Port Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Baldwin had just returned from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East.
Baldwin deployed to Kuwait last September. As an aerial port supervisor for troop and materiel movements in Southwest Asia, she managed more than 3,000 passengers every month.
Now, wiping away tears with Connor on her lap, she was reading a kindergarten favorite, a Dr. Seuss children's book titled "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman. A couple pages into the story about a baby bird in search of his mother, Connor interrupted.
"Mom?" he said.
"I love you."
Mom, wife, cop, soldier
Baldwin's military career started in 1987, as an active duty airman. During her 27 years of service, she has participated in every major conflict, including operations in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian Peninsula.
"This is my first homecoming having a family -- I miss them all so much," she said, in an email coordinating the surprise with the school.
Baldwin transferred to the Air Force Reserves in 1997, and joined the Colorado Springs Police Department in 2005. After three years on patrol, she was selected for school resource officer assignments at Sabin Middle School in Colorado Springs School District 11 and Skyview Middle School in District 49.
In 2009, she became a full-time SRO at Skyview Middle School, and then returned to patrol duties for the CSPD in 2010.
Prior to surprising her son at school, Baldwin shocked her husband, Andrew Baldwin, who's also a police officer. He recently completed Air Force officer training. She walked into a classroom at the CSPD training academy and asked, "Is Officer Baldwin here?"
"It means a lot to me, it's totally surreal," she said, while at the academy and getting ready to head to the elementary school with her husband.
"You cannot even imagine the feeling. It's amazing, just being able to surprise your family."
Watch the video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/o-vwf5ce53o.