Special homecoming surprise at Rush to Read hockey game

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - More than 4,000 students filled the Rush Ice Arena, Wednesday, for the Rush to Read hockey game. The event celebrates the importance of reading, but for one Black Hawk Elementary School student, the game came with a special surprise.

Third-grader Breanna Hansen was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the game. Unknown to Hansen, her mother, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joni Hansen returned from a nearly seven month deployment to southwest Asia.

“I got back late last night and I wanted to surprise her and pick her up from school,” said Tech. Sgt. Joni Hansen. “So my husband Josh called the school to see if that would be okay.”

“We did some coordination with the Rush to have mom surprise her daughter,” said Dr. Lori Simon, Rapid City Area School superintendent.

Joni Hansen said that while her daughter knew she would be coming home “within a week or so” she didn’t pick up on when, despite a couple of slip ups.

“It was a very hard surprise to keep,” said Joni Hansen.

When asked about what she thought of the day, Breanna Hansen thought it was the best day ever.