Surprise Party For Local Soldier

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - Firefighters train to be prepared for anything, but the wife of a Knoxville Firefighter fresh home from his second tour of duty in Iraq, pulled a fast one on him! She caught him off guard with a surprise coming home party.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has more on how the surprise brought tears to his eyes.

The timing couldn't be better. Robby Copas returned for the second time from Iraq this past Sunday on Memorial Day weekend, just in time for his daughter's first birthday.

That's what he thought he was going to Friday night. Then he learned he was the man of the hour.

"Welcome Home Robby!"

Knoxville Firefighter Robby Copas' face says it all.

"Very surprised. I couldn't be more surprised," Copas said.

By the more than 100 family, friends, and fellow fighters welcoming him home from his second tour of duty in Iraq in two years.

"I never really left the firefighter world. I just strapped on a military uniform and I was still a firefighter," Copas said.

Now after four months overseas, each handshake and hug brings him home.

"I had to control myself to not cry. I saw tears coming to his eyes even and he held it back," wife Sabrina Copas said.

His wife, Sabrina, planned and spread the word for two months.

"I've been very, very sneaky," Sabrina said.

But it's only way she says he husband would get the recognition he deserves.

"He's very humble and modest, so it was something I knew if I asked him would he like to have a welcome home party he would say no," Sabrina said.

So she told him they were meeting a few friends for their daughter's first birthday party. That would've been enough.

"It means the world. I was just hoping that I would be home because you never know about the travel," Copas said.

But the banner shows he's the man of the hour. A man his fellow firefighters have missed.

"Just hearing his voice on the radio. When you here him go out you always kind of perk up your ears a little because Robby's and I are really good friends," friend Don Tipton said.

His kids are just glad, daddy's home.

"Well it was sad. I was lonely. I forgot what he looked like," son Luke Copas said.

Copas did share the spotlight with his daughter. And if the call comes, he's willing to go back to Iraq.

"I know we're doing a good thing," Copas said.

But Friday night, a good thing was done for him. Copas says he's not sure exactly when he'll jump back on the fire truck. He's working out all those plans now.

His wife and kids are just glad to have him back and say he's welcome to be a homebody as long as it takes.


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