SCRANTON -- It was the surprise homecoming witnessed by thousands at PNC Field as Army Staff Sergeant Lauren Yost was engulfed in hugs by her shocked and ecstatic niece.
Yost got the welcome home of a lifetime on the field at the Railriders home game Friday night.
“I definitely think this was probably the best one, I got them all here, and I haven’t seen a lot of them in almost 11 months so it’s awesome, glad to have them here,“ said Yost.
Her family is glad to have her back with endless hugs and greetings in the concourse.
“Then I saw her coming out, I just started crying because we did all this stuff for her before she came home, we were here Monday night, and we got Derek Jeter’s signature for her,” said niece Alyssa Quinn.
Yost has spent the last nine months in Afghanistan with the Army Reserves.
She actually returned home this past Tuesday, unknown to her family.
“I’ve had her hidden at my house. We’ve ducked Newswatch 16’s cameras twice now and this would be the third time, it was quite interesting, it’s been a task but we managed to pull it off," said Yost’s sister, Stacey Blank.
Yost said she wanted to make it home for her niece Kyra’s eighth birthday party.
“Well I asked her if she can come home for my birthday and apparently I got my wish,” said Kyra Blank.
But apparently Yost missed the actual birthday, and now she’s got a tall order to fill as her first duty back home.
“What do I owe you now because I wasn’t here for your real birthday?” Yost asked.
“A pony!” yelled Kyra.
Yost said she doesn’t know when she’ll be called up to return overseas but she did re-enlist for another tour of duty while she was in Afghanistan.