Army Sergeant surprises son at school with return from overseas

By Elizabeth Sias

Twelve-year-old Caylor Barrows was in for quite a surprise Thursday afternoon.

Isanti Middle School Assistant Principal Steve Gibbs stepped into the classroom a little after 2 p.m. and started asking the students about countries in the Middle East.

Caylor's face lights up when he first sees his dad. Photos by Elizabeth Sias

“Caylor, come on up here for a second,” Gibbs said. “What can you tell me about Kuwait?”

“Well, I know there’s an Army base there…” he said.

“What can you tell me about that individual?” Gibbs asked, pointing toward the door.

Caylor looked over, and his face lit up.


Caylor ran up to his father, U.S. Army Sergeant Rodrick Barrows, who just returned home from Kuwait, and the two embraced.

Barrows was in Kuwait for over a year. Aside from a short visit in the fall, Rod hadn’t seen Caylor or his other two children—Amber, 21, and Brandon, 20—since his deployment.

Caylor’s classmates, teachers and mom Tara clapped, and then Gibbs invited students to ask questions.

“Is it hard being away from family for that long?” one student asked.


“Is it scary?”

“It’s definitely different,” Rod said. “You’re 8,000 miles from home. You don’t know what you’re getting into until you get there.”

Caylor left school early to spend time with his dad, who is a police officer in Isanti.

“It’s nice to be home,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family.”


Rodrick Barrows, his son Caylor and wife Tara.