An estimated 700,000 people lined the streets of Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday for the Rose Parade and there were plenty of surprises.
One of them had a Michigan connection.
A family reunion drew a standing ovation when Army Sergeant First Class Eric Pazz of Clio stepped off a float and delivered a rose to his wife and son. His wife had no idea Pazz would be in town. She was told she had won a prize a trip to the Rose Parade.
Back in Clio, Carley and Vee Pazz were so excited to see their grandson pull off the surprise. They were sworn to secrecy until Tuesday morning, when Eric called them and let them tell friends and neighbors to watch the Rose Parade on TV.
The surprise reunion was in the works for months and coordinated by the military and pet food company Natural Balance.
For Grandpa Carley and Grandma Vee, seeing Eric step off the float was just as overwhelming as seeing him in person.
â??It's funny because you see this happening sometimes when [military] people arrive in Flint, and then you see that emotion and you feel for them,â?? Vee Pazz said. â??But when it happens to you it's entirely different. It's just overwhelming, just can't describe it,â?? she added.
Sgt. First Class Pazz is a graduate of Clio High School and a Purple Heart recipient.
He will spend the rest of the week in California with his wife and son before returning to Afghanistan.