SANDUSKY, Ohio - Having not seen his wife and family in over a year, a local Marine asked and got Cedar Point's help to surprise his family.
Cedar Point is an exciting destination for any family, but it was made extra special for Gunnery Sgt. Jason Cooper's family Thursday night. Jason has a history of returning home in creative ways. He was not expected home until March next year, that helped with the ruse. He couldn't wait to see his plan unfold.
"I'm very excited, I'm anxious, a little bit jet lagged and I'm thrilled to be here to see my family," said Sgt. Cooper.
When Sgt. Cooper asked Cedar Point for assistance they were happy to help.
"We worked with Sgt. Cooper to make arrangements so that we could really give them the surprise of their lives," said Annie Kelm, Marketing Representative for Cedar Point.
Cedar Point invited the family to take part in a special ceremony on their Luminosity stage. The family was brought on stage and introduced to the hundreds of park visitors gathered for the laser show. They showed a video of Sgt. Conner greeting his family supposedly from Bahrain. The video got the family to turn around and look at the screen Sgt. Cooper used that opportunity to move into position on a small side stage. Sgt. Cooper emerged from a cloud of smoke while that family tried to comprehend what they were seeing. Sgt. Cooper walked onto the stage and into his emotional wife Lisa's arms.
"Shocked, I didn't have my glasses on I don't know if you guys noticed but I was squinting thinking oh my God is that really him. It's a big shock, I'm very glad to see him," said Lisa Cooper.
Five-year-old Mikayla held on tight to the flowers her daddy gave her. "This deployment has been very rough on her because she never experienced daddy being gone for a very long period of time," said Lisa.
Walking off stage to the cheers of hundreds made this Sgt. Cooper's best surprise yet
"It was a great reaction, seeing the wife emotional like that and a just happy to be able to hold my daughter and hug my sons and give my wife a kiss and tell her I'm home for a little while," said Sgt. Cooper.
Sgt. Cooper will have 15 days together with his family before he returns to his deployment overseas. His plan is to retire from the Marines when his current tour of duty is over.