NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) -- It was a surprise more than a year in the making.
Tim Gomez surprised his girlfriend, Erika Salazar and her nine-year-old son, Sebastian on Monday. Gomez is a retired soldier, serving in the Army for more than 30 years.
This time, Gomez was in Afghanistan working as a Civilian for the Department of Defense. He was there for more 386 days and returned home Friday. Erika and her son expected him back in August.
While Gomez was overseas, his girlfriend and son developed a unique relationship with the National City Fire Department because the 9-year-old gave the fire department a U.S. flag that Tim gave him that flew over Afghanistan.
Gomez and Salazar were working on a surprise for the Sebastian in August. But Tim decided to turn it around and surprise them both.
Gomez did it with the help of firefighters at the National City Fire Department. They invited Salazar and her son over thinking it was a special meal with the fire station. During that time, they had Gomez dress up as a firefighter with a mask.
They held a fake news conference and had the mother and son come over and watch. They invited Sebastian over to meet their “newest firefighter.” Then Gomez took off his fighter mask for the big surprise!
It brought his girlfriend to tears and left her nearly speechless.
“I’m glad he’s home,” she said.