SILSBEE, Texas — Tears were flowing in a Silsbee High School classroom Wednesday after an active-duty soldier with Southeast Texas roots paid his mother a surprise visit ahead of the holidays.
Ryan Balla recently graduated from US Army basic training and hasn’t been home to see his family since June. His first stop when he returned home Wednesday was to Silsbee High School.
In a video capturing the tear-jerking surprise, Ryan Balla was seen creeping into a Silsbee ISD classroom filled with students and staff. The soldier in uniform stood behind his mother quietly until she turned around and gave him a warm embrace.
“I’m never letting go,” Silsbee High School teacher and mother Cassie Balla said.
His surprise homecoming had teachers wiping away tears of joy.
“I missed y’all,” Ryan Balla said as he gave his “bonus mom,” Mrs. Katy McKeehan, a tight hug.
Ryan returned home just before the holidays and will be able to enjoy some quality time away from the Army base for 21 days.
A Silsbee ISD spokesperson said Ryan Balla is working on becoming a Ranger.