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Great Bend girl, 13, surprised by military dad’s return

POSTED June 7, 2012 9:06 p.m.

Like a scene out of the television reality show Coming Home, a 13-year old Great Bend girl, Allie Brodrick, got a big surprise Thursday afternoon, June 7, at the Great Bend Wetlands.  Her brother, Mason Roach and mother Lisa Anderson reunited her with her father, Army Sgt. 1st Class Rick Anderson, after a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Anderson was stationed at the forward operating base Mehtar lam in Afghanistan, serving as the logistical officer for his unit.  The “fob” is located in Laghman province in the eastern part of the country close to the border with Pakistan.  His tour of duty was to last two years, but recently he learned the tour would be cut short.  The family originally expected him to arrive home Sunday, Mrs. Anderson said.  
Brodrick was aware that he would be coming home soon, her brother said, but did not know of the surprise in advance.  Friends of the family did know, however, and arranged for the outing to the pool Thursday.  Brodrick and friends were relaxing under one of the shade umbrellas by the pool when her family arrived.  McKinley Phillips, the head life guard on duty, advised Brodrick she had a visitor over the water park loud speaker, as her father waited in the administrative office out of sight.  Then Anderson spoke into the loudspeaker, “Chop-chop Allie, lets go,” which quickly brought Broderick to the entrance for the teary-eyed greeting and a hug.
“I was definitely surprised,” she said.  “I saw my brother, and my mom, and thought, ‘No way!’ and then there he was. My arms are still shaking.”

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