REMLAP, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s a special heartwarming surprise that will bring tears to your eyes.
An Alabama National Guard Sergeant surprised his kindergarten son and fourth-grade daughter at Southeastern School in Remlap.
Sgt. Jaren Garton deployed for Iraq on Father’s Day in 2018 for his fourth deployment overseas. This marks the first time he surprised his children.
Teachers at Southeastern School organized the surprise. Sgt. Jaren Garton’s children, Mallorie and Camden, thought they were selected to learn how to play a song using cups as instruments. Sgt. Jaren Garton then walked up beside his children and surprised them.
“It was heart-melting cause you know, trying to hold back my emotions and be strong for them, and support them,” said Sgt. Jaren Garton. “It was quite a shock for me to figure out how I was supposed to respond and be strong for them.”
Sgt. Jaren Garton’s wife, Meredith Garton says it was a difficult year, but support from the community, school, and loved ones provided the encouragement they needed.
“I miss my husband of course for the whole year, but seeing your kids miss him is even worse. You really can’t do anything about it,” said Meredith Garton
The family says they plan to watch movies and reconnect. Meredith Garton has advice for other families with loved ones deployed overseas.
“Try and talk and keep in touch as much as you can,” said Meredith Garton. “Have a good support system. Be there and try and find people who are going through the same thing. Who have kids going through the same thing because they can help out a lot.”
Sgt. Jaren Garton was deployed in Kuwait in 2003, and Afghanistan in 2009 and 2014.
Watch CBS 42 digital reporter, Cameron Edgeworth’s, interview with CBS 42 morning anchor, Art Franklin, about the experience.