SALT LAKE CITY — The often dry and tedious business of the Utah Senate had some relief Friday morning when lawmakers witnessed the surprise reunion between a returning combat solider and his family.

Sen. John Valentine, R-Provo, arranged the reunion of Utah National Guard Capt. Phil Lowry with his wife and seven of their children — much to the their surprise — in an event marked by tears and giant bear hugs.

Lowry is a former law partner of Valentine in Utah County and was deployed to Afghanistan in a combat role for the past nine months. The Utah Senate stood in honor of his wife, Christina, making the sacrifice at home.

When Valentine coyly asked his colleagues on the Senate floor to imagine the hardship the Lowrys had to endure, the room fell silent and the captain walked onto the floor. Lowry was immediately mobbed with hugs by his children.

Christina Lowry was so overcome with emotion she nearly forgot to take her citation with her.

Amy Joi O'Donoghue, Twitter: amyjoi16