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'That was an awesome moment': Hustonville student gets surprise visit from military father

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Posted at 6:43 AM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 11:42:02-04

HUSTONVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Now two weeks into the school year, students at Hustonville Elementary have settled into a routine, but for second grader Luke Johnson, a surprise visitor at the start of the semester still has him beaming two weeks later.

“He’s been gone since I was in first grade,” said Luke, explaining his dad’s most recent deployment with the National Guard.

“He doesn’t fly, but he fixes planes and helicopters,” Luke told LEX18.

His dad’s dedication to his deployment may only be rivaled by his dedication to his family.

“He always wants the best for us. He always provides for us and does everything that we need,” said Mandy, his wife. “He sacrifices his time to go and do things, to help benefit us.”

For months, Luke’s stories from school and updates on the home could only be shared through a screen.

For Mandy, watching the challenges of distance is hard on everyone in the family.

“Talking on the phone and Facetime just isn’t the same as seeing dad in person,” she said.

So on the third day of school, it’s no surprise just how shocked Luke was to see a special visitor standing at his classroom door.

“He had to do a double take at first, he saw him, then he kinda looked over, and he looked back. He knew daddy was there, and he took off,” said Mandy.

Captured on video, Luke can be seen running into his dad’s arms, his mom standing nearby watching the reunion, over a year in the making.

“I just ran up and gave him a hug,” said Luke.

“That was an awesome moment,” said Mandy. “Luke cried, well, we were all crying, but you could just see the excitement in Luke’s face and how much he had missed his dad.”

With his dad deployed once again, Luke said he’ll be hunkering down in class, waiting for the next time he sees his dad in person.