Air Force mom surprises daughter on her birthday - WFLA News Channel 8

Air Force mom surprises daughter on her birthday

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Melissa Higa hugs her daughter Riley Melissa Higa hugs her daughter Riley

WAHIAWA, HI - A wish came true for an elementary student in Hawaii whose mother is in the Air Force.

10-year-old Riley Higa wrote a letter to President Obama, asking that her mother, Melissa Higa, be allowed to come home for Riley's birthday on Monday.  Higa is a senior airman for the U.S. Air Force, and has been deployed overseas in Korea for about nine months.

Riley's grandmother, Charline Rich, told KITV4 News the distance was painful for her.

"She was pretty sad and after her mom talked to her and said she couldn't come home she told me 'I want to write a letter to the president', and I said 'ok we can do that'," said Rich.

"I want my mom to come home for my birthday, and I haven't seen her since February," Riley told KITV4 News, tearing up. "[It's been] hard, I miss her."

At the end of the interview, Melissa Higa walked into the room, and Riley's tears turned to tears of joy.

"Everyone says they don't know how we do it, but i think it's the families that sacrifice more," said Higa.  "They are the ones that have to wait for me out there, you have to adapt quickly you just do. You try not to think about it too much, so when my mom told me that you know i wanted to make it big for her it had to be it had to be something big."

The family plans to celebrate Riley's birthday this weekend at the beach.

Nana Ohkawa of KITV4 News contributed to this report.

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