Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 5, 2013


Airman surprises daughter after eight-month deployment

VALDOSTA — It was just a normal Monday morning for 4-year-old Carrina Kaluza. She woke up, got dressed and went to St. John Catholic School for a fun day of learning in Terri Joseph's Kindergarten class.

Joseph had balloons in the classroom.

“I told them it was just a happy day,” said Joseph when explaining how she handled curiosity about the balloons from a class of 3 and 4-year-olds.

It was indeed a happy day because as Carrina sat in a circle for story time with her classmates, her father Tim Kaluza was just outside in the hall, waiting to surprise her.

Master Sgt. Kaluza with the 824 BDS at Moody Air Force had been away from his family for eight months during a deployment to Afghanistan. This was only one of his several deployments.

“Too many to count, I couldn't even tell you,” said Kaluza.

His wife Ashely Kaluza was able to see him on Saturday, but for Carrina, 6-year-old Savannah and 20 month old Alaina, Monday was the first day in eight months that they have seen their dad in person and not just on a computer screen during Skype sessions.

“We've Skyped from time to time,” said Ashley.

However, based off Carrina's reaction to her father's return, nothing is like having your loved one safe at home.

Carrina sat quietly, listening to Joseph read a story about Clifford the Big Red Dog. First, Ashley walked in with Alaina in her arms.

“Mommy!” Carrina squealed in excitement.

Carrina ran to her mother and wrapped her arms around her legs. Ashley pointed Carrina back to her seat in the reading circle. Like most 4-year-olds, Carrina was once again consumed by the antics of Clifford.

Carrina pulled a seat up for Alaina to sit in and there she sat, with no idea that her dad was just feet away.

Kaluza slowly walked in the door with a bouquet of rainbow flowers in hand. Carrina turned her head towards the door, and with a reaction time of about a second, immediately jumped out of her seat.

"Daddy!" Carrina yelled with excitement and surprise.

Carrina ran to Kaluza and leaped on him, holding him tight. Alaina ran to join them and Kaluza held the girls, one on each hip as Carrina giggled and smiled.

Joseph had cupcakes ready, knowing that Monday would be a time to celebrate. Carrina showed her dad to a seat right next to her.

"He was sneaking in," said Carrina as she began to tell the story of her special surprise while eating little, pink cupcakes.

"What did your dad bring you?" The Times asked.

"Flowers!" Carrina yelled.

"What are you going to do now that your dad is home?" asked the Times.

"Um, hug him!" Carrina said as she smiled at her dad.

According to Kaluza, words couldn't express what he felt as his little girl jumped into his arms.

"I can't verbally explain it," said Kaluza.

Ashley, visually emotional with tears in her eyes, had just witnessed the very day she had been counting down to.

"We all have missed him a lot," said Ashley.

Later that afternoon, Kaluza went to Pine Grove Elementary School where he surprised his oldest daughter Savannah.

“It hasn’t quite hit her yet,” said Ashley of Savannah’s surprise.

According to Ashley, she stood there for a bit, took in his face and then realized he was at last home.

“She ran up to him and gave him a hug,” said Ashley.

Text Only
Local News
  • Cardiovascular Surgeons.jpg SGMC hires three cardiovascular surgeons

    South Georgia Medical Center has hired three cardiovascular surgeons, according to the hospital Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moody firefighter 2.jpg Moody firefighter feeds burning passion for food

    He can bust down a burning door and save lives from a flaming inferno. If the kitchen survives, he might whip up some elegant blackened salmon.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • vpd accreditation.jpg VPD receives national reaccreditation

    The Valdosta Police Department received reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and is ready to file for accreditation for the regional crime lab.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fussell Tire & Service to expand into new facility

    An existing business will open a new facility and expand its operations, according to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014

  • Brown Johnson Solis Cardiovascular Surgeons.jpeg Cardiac, Vascular, Thoracic & Endovascular Surgeons Join South Georgia Medical Center

    The three surgeons will operate a full-time medical practice and professional office named the SGMC CardioVascular Institute.  The medical office, which is located in Suite 230 of the Professional Building which is adjacent to SGMC, will be open 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140729-Gas_Leak002.jpg Roadway closed after second gas line break

    For a second day in a row, workers from Valdosta’s Utilities Department struck a natural gas service line causing a leak that shut down a portion of Forrest Street, officials said.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dump truck arrest photo.jpg Deputies nab stolen dump truck suspects

    The search for suspected dump truck thieves ended Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of two men in the same area officials searched extensively Monday.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bears sighted on Baytree

    A pair of bear sightings along Baytree Road this week could indicate a growing black bear population in Lowndes County.

    July 30, 2014

  • Johnson family files second suit against school

    Two months after filing a civil suit against Lowndes County Schools, Kendrick Johnson’s parents have filed a second suit against the school system which again claims that negligence and bullying led to their son’s death.

    July 30, 2014

  • Teachers Harvest

    With students and teachers returning to the classroom in the coming days, the need for school supplies is at the top of numerous priority lists. For teachers, this often means spending their money to ensure classrooms are fully stocked.

    July 30, 2014

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results