For seven year old Shaeli McCroskey, Nov. 10 was just another Thursday. She got up with her sisters Ragean, age five and Finnleigh, age seven months. She went to school at West Navarre Intermediate and joined her classmates in Jenny Speed’s second grade class.
When Shaeli’s mom, Carrie Smith came in to volunteer for the day, Shaeli was asked to read a poem to the class about how much she missed her dad.
Major Benjamin Smith had been deployed to Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan for the previous four months, and Shaeli missed her dad quite a bit.
As she finished her poem, a voice from the back of the room called out “I can’t hear you!”
Shaeli looked up from her reading to see a familiar face enter the room.