WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- In some cases, school volunteers are just as important as teachers. At Hanes Magnet School, Principal Robin Willard depends on Burnedette Pegueuse.
"She works in the media center, volunteers in the cafeteria, does car duty in the morning, so she does a little bit of everything for us here at Hanes," Willard said.
So when it came time for the Volunteer of the Year award, Pegueuse was the natural choice. Students gathered in the cafeteria for the ceremony. Pagueuse's granddaughter Madison stood by her side.
Pegueuse was ready to accept her award. But Willard had one more surprise. And it was a big one! With three flower bouquets, Pegueuse's daughter, Maj. Dianna Pegueuse walked through the cafeteria door. Grandmother, granddaughter and mother cried and held each other tightly. Pegueuse described the family reunion.
"I'm happy. I'm surprised. I have a whirlwind of emotions going through me right now," Maj. Pegueuse said.
Her daughter Madison felt the same way.
"A lot of emotions going on," Madison said.
Pegueuse was in Kuwait for nine months and was not scheduled to come home for a few more months. So the homecoming was quite the surprise.
"When Ms. Willard told me to turn around, if i could have fainted," Burnedette Pegueuse said. "But I have to be a strong grandma."
Now that Pegueuse is home, what's the plan now?
"I've got to hold my baby," Burnedette Pegueuse said. "She is my only child. I have to hold my baby."
Pegueuse's recent deployment was the hardest because this was the first time she was away during the holidays.