Air Force sergeant surprises step-daughter

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jared Rustman surprises his stepdaughter Angelina Zuno on stage at the June 6 South Valley Middle School promotion ceremony. Photos courtesy of Kenny Wong

One South Valley Middle School student, along with  her entire family, got a welcome surprise June 6 as she was being recognized at the eighth-grade promotion ceremony held on the Gilroy High School campus.

As student Angelina Zuno was making her way through congratulations from school and district staff on stage the Wednesday ceremony, there was one last person waiting for her. It was her stepfather Jared Rustman, an active duty staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force who had returned from his deployment in the Middle East to surprise her.

Rustman arrived on campus prior to the June 6 ceremony and was hidden and transported to the D-wing until it was Zuno’s turn on stage. He made his way down to the receiving line of GUSD dignitaries that included Supt. Deborah Flores, South Valley Middle School Principal Patricia Mondragon, Gilroy High School Principal Marco Sanchez, Christopher High School Assistant Principal Julie Berggren and school board members.

When Zuno was awarded her certificate of promotion, Rustman was the last one to greet her in line, and the crowd erupted in applause. Mondragon made some remarks to all the attendees about the surprise and thanked Rustman for his service to our country, according to district staff.

Rustman, who flew in from Bahrain on leave to be at the ceremony, is back on duty this week. He had planned the special moment with school site staff and surprised the entire family.