California soldier surprises family at BBQ (VIDEO)

BAKERSFIELD - A soldier who was deployed in Afghanistan came home over the weekend and surprised her family.

Shelly Lawson, a sergeant in the army, who hasn't seen her family in just about a year, showed up unexpectedly during the family reunion barbecue.

Lawson's two kids and mother were handed a note that said, "Red, white and blue. Can you guess who is home? Oh how I've missed you."

"I walked through the back fence and they about tackled me," said Lawson.

Lawson has served several Afghanistan and is stationed in Kansas. During her training she communicates with her family through email and cell phone.

She decided to surprise her family back in February after having pizza delivered on Valentine's Day to her daughter at school.

"They took video and sent it to me. My daughter started crying because she thought I was going to show up," said Lawson.

Lawson's daughter, Celeste Arias is a sophomore in high school. She is proud of her mom serving her country, but misses the every day personal interaction.

"To have her home,we are so glad she's here. We pray for her every night to make sure she is safe when she's deployed," said Arais.

Celeste and her younger brother Jonathan live with their grandmother while Lawson is deployed.

"I told her I would be there to support her. When I saw her walk in, a huge weight lifted, she's home she's safe and I could hug her and touch her," said Victoria McClain-Smith.

Lawson will spend 10 days home on leave and says she plans to enjoy every minute with her family.

"Before I surprised them, my knees and hands were shaking so bad, could barely walk, my heart was racing. I was so excited to see my family," said Lawson.

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