After reading the story about Sgt. Ross Gunlach, I took some liberties in a re-write to make it into a surprise ending, see if you can guess what it is;
“I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.
On Friday, he made good on that vow with help from some sentimental state officials in Iowa who know how to pull off a surprise.
Since leaving active duty to take classes at the University of Wisconsin this summer, Gundlach, of Madison, Wis., had been seeking to reunite with Casey.
The 25-year-old learned Casey had finished her military service and had accepted a position at the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office, where she was employed to assist in the detection of explosives here in the homeland.
Not knowing of any way of establishing contact through personal channels, Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal's office, explaining the connection he felt with one of their employees. He even has a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo.
“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures … it just tugged on your heart,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds decided to arrange a surprise. First, he got in touch with the Iowa Elk’s Association, who has a history of assisting veterans who have returned home.
“We have a motto in our association that as long as there are veterans, the Elks will strive to help them,” Iowa Elks Association president Tom Maher said.
Then, Reynolds came up with a ruse to get Gundlach to Des Moines, telling Gundlach he needed to come to the state Capitol to plead his case for wanting to make contact with an employee of the state in front of a “bureaucratic oversight committee.”
When Gundlach arrived with his parents, Reynolds told them the meeting had been delayed and invited them to join an Armed Services Day celebration in the rotunda. There, hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians were seated, keeping the secret — until Casey joined them.
When Gundlach saw Casey, he put his head in his hands and cried.
“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I owe her.”
His father, Glen Gundlach, seemed just as surprised.
“It’s unbelievable … the state of Iowa, I love ‘em,” he said.
Gov. Terry Branstad made an appearance during Friday’s ceremony, thanking Casey for a “job well done.”
During the 150 missions they performed together, Gundlach said Casey never missed an explosive — she caught three before they could be detonated. He credits her for making it back home safely.
“I wouldn’t be here … any kids I ever had wouldn’t exist if Casey hadn’t been here,” he said.
Think you know how the story ends? Read the original article here, and find out!