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'Deployed dad' surprises son at graduation in Limestone Co.

Nathaniel Owen was deployed in Afghanistan for thirteen months. He’s now back home, but his son—who just graduated from Elkmont High School—had no idea.

Posted: May 24, 2018 6:25 PM
Updated: May 24, 2018 6:38 PM

97 students graduated from Elkmont High School today but one student’s graduation was a little more special than the rest.

Nate Owen—a senior at Elkmont High—was completely surprised when his father, who has been deployed for over a year, showed up at today’s ceremony.

WAAY 31 spoke with Nate and his dad about the big surprise.

“He’s expecting me to FaceTime chat so I can watch him from Texas," said Nathaniel Owen.

Owen was deployed in Afghanistan for thirteen months. He’s now back home, but his son—who just graduated from Elkmont High School—had no idea.

“I’m anxious. That’s about all," Owen said. "I’m just anxious. I’ve been waiting for this to happen.”

Owen asked his command sergeant major early on in his deployment if he could be home for his son’s graduation, and, luckily, the major said yes, so Owen’s had it planned out for a while.

“The principal’s going to act like he doesn’t have his diploma, and then I’m going to approach him from the back and say, ‘Are you looking for this?’”

But Owen isn't just surprising his son for graduation.

“Tomorrow’s his 18th birthday, so I’ll be here for two big events, so I’m pretty happy," he said.

Owen says this will be something he never forgets.

“It’ll be a life memory," he said. "It’ll be a happy memory the rest of both of our lives, I think.”

Owen tells WAAY 31 he also gets to surprise his son with the news that his deployment is over and he’s home for good.

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