WEST HAVEN — Other than bringing doughnuts for his classmates, Jett Longmore started the celebration of his 11th birthday Tuesday pretty routinely.
He never suspected that a birthday surprise waited for him at school.
After library time at Kanesville Elementary School, Jett’s teacher sent the fifth-grader to the office to deliver papers. He returned to find the overhead projector on and ready to broadcast a message from the other side of the world.
On a U.S. Air Force Base at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Maj. Dean Longmore, with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, was at an event with 300 other Airmen, unaware of what was in store for him as well.
His birthday is Thursday.
About a week ago, Nikki Longmore and Maj. Longmore’s commanding officers devised a scheme to have father and son exchange birthday wishes on Skype.
After some quick birthday wishes from Maj. Longmore’s commanding officers, the 300 Airmen sang "Happy Birthday" — and then came well wishes between father and son.
Weber School District spokesman Nate Taggart said this is probably the first time such an event has happened at any of the district’s schools.
As for the element of surprise, the event was a success on both ends.
"I really didn’t expect that," Jett said. "I didn’t know anything was going to happen today."
Jett’s mother was glad to be able to do this for her son.
"It was awesome; for Jett, the sun rises and sets around his dad," she said. "I just got to see the video right now — it was pretty cool."
Other than calls through Skype, Maj. Longmore will not be able to see his family again until around Thanksgiving. While on deployment, he gets to see his family only a few times a year.
Nikki thanked Principal Scott Zelmer for allowing the surprise to take place.
"That was really special for our family that he was able to do that for Jett," Nikki said.
Zelmer said the rest of the school benefited as well.
"It’s been exciting for all of us, not only for Jett to see his dad, but for the students to see what’s going on."
Zelmer said it is important to take time to remember and give back to the people serving this country.
"As a school, we want to use it as an opportunity for our kids to know what our servicemen are doing for us."