By Megan Sanchez, KRCG
MEXICO, Mo. (KRCG) — Isabella Clovis is four years old. She's full of laughter, witty things to say, and love for her daddy.
"She's a total daddy's girl," her mom Kara Clovis said. "We had to tell her that he was going to work for a really long time."
For the past 11 months, Isabella, her little sister Charlee, and her mom Kara have only been able to communicate with Zach Clovis through Skype and quick phone calls.
Friday, they were able to see him without a screen.
Zach returned from a tour with the U.S. Army in Syria. He knew he was going to surprise Isabella at daycare with flowers and a huge hug, but had no idea he would be escorted by more than 60 local motorcyclists.
"The bikers have the biggest hearts," Christine 'Cricket' Alexander said.
"Any time we can help a servicemen or a child or somebody who needs us, the biker community is usually there."
Alexander found out about Zach's homecoming Thursday morning. Thanks to social media, within 24 hours she pulled together a group to escort Zach and Kara to the daycare, around the Mexico town square, and finally to the American Legion for a celebration.
"When they leave and leave their family behind the whole family is serving, too," Alexander said.
"It's America. It's being an American and it's amazing."
Zach was very overwhelmed by the surprise. He said he was expecting to get his girls, go home and sit at his house, but said it feels great to be back.
Before surprising Isabella, Zach was surprised by dozens of community members ready to escort him to his daughter's daycare. (Megan Sanchez/KRCG 13)
He said surprising his daughter was "pretty sweet."
"I don't think she realized what was going on at first. It was awesome to see her - I mean and how big she got, Charlee, too. They got huge! I don't remember them that tall."
Friday afternoon was a whirlwind for the Clovis family as Zach arrived, but Kara said she is excited to have him back.
"I've only been with him for a couple of hours, so I think we're both still adjusting to him being home," she said.
"I'm really looking forward to the extra hand at home and having his support too - having him around, knowing that he's safe and for the girls to be able to spend time with him."
Zach and Kara met overseas. Both were in the Army on tours in Korea. Zach said he chose to join because he wanted to do his part.
"I know when I first joined, I've been in like 12 years now, I didn't want to go to college," he said. "I'm not a college boy. I work with my hands."
And now his hands can hold his daughter's.
Isabella has a lot of fun things planned for she and her dad. Once the shock wore off, she began asking about a tree house and going fishing.
A summer of fun awaits for the Clovis family, but more importantly, a summer together.
"I'm here now," Zach told Isabella as he held her in his arms.