Apalachicola’s Joseph Taranto, a sergeant with the Florida National Guard’s 870th Engineer Company out of Crestview, came home this week after nearly a year of service in Afghanistan, surprising his sons and their classmates at school.



Taranto’s wife, Gina, the Apalachicola Bay Charter School’s dean of students, picked her husband up at the airport on Mother’s Day, telling her sons she was handling an ABC School assignment. The couple returned to town Monday, and went to Franklin County High School first, surprising son Chase, a sophomore.



It was then on to ABC School, where they surprised son Brandon in his sixth grade classroom, and then a short walk to the cafeteria, to see Wes, a first grader, where the entire room burst into applause. Taranto had deployed in June 2012, just five weeks after the birth of his son Cooper. Later, the entire family returned to the family’s Apalachicola home, decorated with a sign welcoming Dad home.