CEDAR POINT -- When Gunnery Sergeant Jason Cooper learned he'd have the chance to come home for some R&R this summer, he thought he'd make it a big surprise.
An 18 year veteran of the US Marine Corps, Cooper is stationed with his company in Bahrain, in the Middle East.
This deployment began in February and the Coopers did not think Jason would be able to come home at all until next year.
But Gunnery Sgt. Cooper has surprised them before, and this time he made a gesture on a grand scale.
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By coordinating with Cedar Point, he was able to set up a scenario where his family spent the day Thursday at the park for what they thought would be military appreciation.
Lisa Cooper and their three children, Ethan, Jayden and Mikayla, were called up on stage before the nightly light and dance show, to watch a video message, taped by the husband and father.
When the message was over, the family turned around and saw GySgt Cooper in the audience.
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He raced up on stage for a hug and a kiss.
"It was a great reaction, seeing the wife all emotional like that, and just being able to hold my daughter, hug my sons, and give my wife a kiss and tell her I'll be home for a while," GySgt Cooper said.
The family will have fifteen days together in Amherst, before the Marine returns to his company in Bahrain to serve the rest off this deployment.