U.S. Army soldier Sarah Ilbrink and the West Michigan Whitecaps, made sure her homecoming was especially memorable for her mother and thousands of fans at Fifth Third Ballpark Friday night.

Kari Ilbrink, Sarah's mother, just thought the family was going to watch the baseball game. She didn’t know her daughter was home on leave from the Army and hiding in the stands. She didn’t find out until Sarah came running onto the field.

“I just usually will come home, knock on the door and surprise my parents that way,” says Sarah. "I decided this time to go big.”

“I still can’t believe it,” says her mother Kari. “I had no clue. Honestly, no clue. I am glad my baby is home. Everything is right in the world.”

Specialist Ilbrink may have plenty more opportunities to organize surprise Grand Rapids homecomings from her military service. She says she is planning to reenlist for at least another four years and possibly make the Army her career.

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