Returning soldier gets warm welcome

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Otton had her students draw pictures and write short passages about their kindergarten experiences the day before Zervos returned home, and they thought it was a normal lesson.

“I can’t believe what this school went to for my son,” LoCascio said. “It was just going to be a little thing and this is more than I could ever ask for.” She added that she was thrilled to see that her son was OK after his second combat tour. Now that he is back, Zervos plans on attending St. John’s University using his G.I. Bill and studying homeland and corporate security.

Otton, who is in her 14th year at Carbonaro, hopes to do more nice gestures for military personnel in the future. “It’s nice that we can do something small,” she said. “As big as this seemed … it’s not enough.”

Prior to seeing Danielle, Zervos wasn’t sure whether she was going to be excited or shy — as it turned out, she was both. She quietly introduced her dad to all her friends in her class and showed him around the room.

While the tour was going on, students from kindergarten through sixth grade lined the halls and the exterior walkway holding flags and signs. With Danielle on his left, Alexandra on his right and Jennifer, Michael and his mother behind him, Zervos walked down the hall while the entire Carbonaro community applauded his service.

“This wasn’t about us,” Iacono said. “It wasn’t about our school. It was about people. We always talk about selfless acts, but to have someone who truly is a selfless person is something that I think we should all admire.”

District 24 Superintendent Dr. Edward Fale said the event was heartwarming and will teach students respect.

Zervos left the building with his family as the cheers from students, faculty and staff grew. “It’s good to be home,” he said.

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