K5 class conducts surprise welcome upon dad’s deployment return

Captain Andrew Ritner was given a surprise welcome home party by his daughter’s K5 class at East Point Academy, Friday.

The party was to celebrate his return from a one-year deployment in Qatar and Afghanistan.

Ritner’s daughter, Sara Catherine, is in the K5 class of Sara Allman at the Chinese Immersion School in Cayce.

An unsuspecting Ritner was summoned to the school and told he’d be reading to the students in the class.

“Instead of a reading circle, they came out with all these welcome home signs,” Ritner said.

The welcome home party included cupcakes, American flags, cards from the students and a big blue sign that read “Welcome Home” in Chinese. “I was thrilled,” Ritner said.

He got back from his tour last week. Ritner said he keeps busy with his job when he is deployed. He said the hard part of being away rests with his wife Miranda, who has to make sure Sara Catherine is taken care of.

Ritner said the amount of time he is gone is a challenge for the family left home.

He said he is glad to be home and with his wife and daughter. He also looks forward to getting adjusted to the eight-hour time change.