KILLEEN, Texas — A Fort Hood soldier’s surprise reunion made a daddy-daughter dance at a local elementary school special Thursday evening. 

For the past nine months, Chief Warrant Officer Marcus Barnes of the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division was overseas serving the nation in Poland. 

He said that was the longest time he’d been without his 7-year-old daughter Kiersten who is a first grader at Haynes Elementary School in Killeen. 

"She's my sweetheart. She is my only child," Barnes said. "She's my angel, and she's the reason I do what I do day in and day out, so it's special."

The Killeen independent school district found out about Barnes’ situation and helped him pull of the surprise. School officials paused the music at the dance temporarily to “announce” the winner of a drawing. 

Only there was no drawing. However, there was a winner. 

“Kiersten Barnes,” a school official announced. 

The little girl walked forward with a smile, but at the same time confused about what her prize could be. Then, after moments of waiting, came her prize: Her dad! 

The two embraced, and their joy was evident.  

Kiersten was asked about how it felt to be reunited with her father.

“Excited, because my daddy’s nice,” she said.  

Officer Barnes said the dance was the perfect way to surprise his little girl. 

He said he's thankful for the chance to create sentimental memories. He also said he aims to continue to be a positive father figure and teach his daughter the way a gentleman should treat a lady.