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Operation Surprise

Operation Surprise
Posted on 10/11/2018
Powderhorn Elementary sixth grade student Riley Donahue reacts as his big brother Marine, PFC Jacob Donahue, makes an unannounced visit to his classroom.It was a cold, drizzly October morning at Powderhorn Elementary in Littleton. A good morning to be inside, on a brain break. The third-graders in Katie Sadowski's classroom were having a ball, including one young man, Jason Radoll, who was showing off some serious dance moves.

What Jason didn’t realize, is that he is the focus of an elaborate plan concocted in part, by a U.S. Marine. The plan: Operation Surprise.

His older step-brother, Marine Corps Private First-Class Jacob Donahue, was at Powderhorn's front door. He'd been away, training for nearly a year. Skype calls have been the only way to stay in touch. When he was approved for a 12-day leave before heading overseas, he, his dad, and his mom, Sandra, worked out the details of Operation Surprise. His little sister, Amelia, was at the school for good luck.

"When I put in my leave request, I thought about it. I surprised them last time when I came back from boot camp. I just showed up at the house,” explained Donahue. “I thought I wanted to surprise them again, but I didn't want to do the same thing. I thought about coming here or to a football game. I came home last night, and I didn't want to wait and waste any time hanging out with them."

Mom, Sandra Radoll played a big role in getting Operation Surprise ready.

“I heard from his dad that he wanted to do it and I did whatever I could do to help because it's a little bit easier for me to reach people at the school because I have more time than he has. I just wanted to make everything easier for them,” said Radoll.

Back in the classroom, the brain break was over and the next phase of Operation Surprise began. Jason pulled-on his Angry Birds cap to lead the way outside to Pam Bartholomay's sixth-grade classroom, and big brother Riley.

"I don't think either of them expected it for sure. Definitely, spend time with them. Hang out with them. Spend as much time with family as I can before I have to leave. If the weather permits, I'll definitely take them out to the skatepark," Donahue said of his plans with his younger siblings.

“I know that he's doing well and he's bettered himself and I know he's done amazing things for our country. It tears me apart for the boys but they're seeing what they can become," said Radoll.

Overall, Operation Surprise was a total success.

See the JPS-TV version of this story below or here.

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