The Shelby parade paused for a moment Sunday to witness a heartwarming moment when a returning soldier surprised his son with an early homecoming.
Landon Tesseneer was watching the parade with his mom, Sarah Tesseneer, when suddenly a Sheriff’s Office patrol car stopped in the middle of the road. The door opened and a man in Army fatigues got out and walked toward the waiting family.
The 4-year-old boy sat for a moment and stared, as if in disbelief, before getting up and running to greet SPC Brandon Tesseneer where he waited crouched down, ready to hold his son for the first time since February.
The crowds lining the road burst out in cheers and applause as the father and son held each other. Landon touched his dad’s face, as if making sure it was really happening. After embracing his son, Brandon wrapped his arms around his wife, who had helped plan the reunion.
Tesseneer returned home Saturday after spending seven months in Iraq and around two months in Kuwait as part of the Kings Mountain National Guard’s 878th engineer company. He didn’t expect to be home until after Christmas but was able to return a little sooner than anticipated.
An idea immediately began brewing.
Tesseneer said he wanted to surprise his son, who was 3 when he had been deployed, and who has been communicating with his dad by phone or Facetime. He has seen Landon grow and change in the months during his absence.
He said his son recently told him, “Daddy, I want you home.”
“It’s been a long year,” Tesseneer said.
When he learned his deployment would end a little early, he reached out to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office through Facebook and asked whether they would be willing to help carry out the idea.
He said the Sheriff’s Office was quick to respond.
“They’ve bent over backward for me,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to be able to have this opportunity.”
The Sheriff’s Office arranged for Tesseneer to ride in the car with Sheriff Alan Norman, and once they reached his family waiting near the old Shelby Police Department, he would get out and surprise his son. He said he was nervous about the reunion and had no idea how Landon would react. “I hope he comes up and hugs me,” he said, “but he might be in shock. I’m very excited.”
Tesseneer said initially, he had wanted to surprise his wife too, but decided for planning purposes it would be easier to have her in on the secret. He wanted to relieve some of the stress on her as well.
Tesseneer, who is a Crest High graduate and currently lives near Fallston, said he worked as a transit police officer in Charlotte for several years before becoming employed by Curtiss-Wright.
He joined the National Guard in April of 2012. He said now that he has returned home, he hopes to begin a career in law enforcement. After serving time overseas, Tesseneer said he wants to continue serving his community.
© 2018 The Star (Shelby, N.C.)
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