A military dad went four years without seeing his son play football — then had a tearful surprise reunion on a North Carolina field.
Anthony Killiebrew had already scored a touchdown on Wednesday, a night when eighth graders were recognized at Riverside Middle School. But video shows the celebration took another turn at halftime.
Sgt. Anthony Killiebrew surprised his son by running onto the field before the two embraced in front of a cheering crowd, according to a minute-long clip posted to the StreetzDotNation YouTube page.
Hank Tice, athletic director for the middle school, told McClatchy News tears of joy were flowing at the home game in Williamston, a town in Martin County roughly 100 miles east of Raleigh. He said it was “just an emotional thing to see the expression on our football player’s face, to turn around and his dad be right behind him.”
Tice worked with other school staff and the Killiebrew family to help make the surprise possible. With the plan underway, Sgt. Killiebrew, who is stationed in Maryland, drove in and watched the game from the parking lot until halftime.
“He got special permission to be able to come be a part of his son’s eighth grade night,” Tice said in a phone interview. “Obviously, he hadn’t been able to see his son play or pretty much been able to see his son for the past four years because of his position with the Army.”
After the emotional reunion, officials said Sgt. Killiebrew got to watch his son notch a second touchdown from the sidelines.
“What an unbelievable event,” Tice said. “You see it on the news. You see it on ESPN. You see it on social media. To actually have that be able to happen in our hometown was probably one of the more rewarding things that I’ve been through as an employee of Martin County Schools for a pretty long time.”
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