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Fridley Public Schools

We’re not crying, you’re crying!

Mia and Josh Claggett

Mia Claggett, daughter of Hayes Elementary IB Coordinator Cara Claggett, was surprised to discover her mom wasn’t alone in picking her up from Tiger Club on Thursday, July 20. Her dad, Josh, who has been deployed for the past 10 months, was waiting around the corner to reunite with her. He had returned home a day early, which Mia didn’t know until this special moment.

"This is the third deployment the Hayes staff has supported us through," Cara explained. "Josh is a chief petty officer in the Navy and serves as a reservist when not mobilized. He just completed his 19th year of service, the first eight on active duty."

While he was deployed this year, the Hayes staff bought red spirit wear (red for remembering everyone deployed) which they wore on Fridays in support of Josh and the Claggett family, and they also created a meal train to provide them with two meals a week all year.

"It was a beautiful thing to see our entire staff show support and love for a fellow Giraffe," said Gaeli Iverson, principal at Hayes. "Cara has given so much to the Hayes community. We were honored to be a place of support for her while Josh was away on deployment."

Cara also emphasized her gratitude to Fridley Preschool staff for giving Mia a nurturing environment to grow and learn while her dad was away.

"Karin Beckstrand, Mr. Howell, Ms. Debra and other staff at Fridley Preschool loved our girl Mia so well as she completed her last year of preschool," Cara said. "She learned so much and loved school so much she would skip through the door each day.

"Deployments are hard on families," she continued. "Our youngest, Eloise, was 9 months old when Josh left and 19 months old when he returned, so you can imagine how many milestones were missed in that timeframe.

"Despite the year being very challenging, our family is incredibly grateful for the support and love of our parents, friends and siblings, as well as the staff members at Hayes, my coordinator team and Fridley Preschool! 

"Thank you, Fridley family!"

Watch the video of their reunion on our YouTube Channel.