Senior Master Sergeant Mark Coffelt, a member of the United States Air Force, has been deployed three times in the past four years. His most recent deployment had him serving eight months in Qatar with the 69th bomb squadron. The whole time he was gone he was deeply missed by his wife, Aleecia, and especially by his eight-year-old son, Ronin.
Aleecia said that Ronin had been asking for months when his dad would be home again, and if he would make it in time for this birthday.
Thankfully, Mark did make it home before his son’s birthday, but Ronin didn’t know that because he was already asleep by the time Mark’s plane landed. The parents agreed to make it a surprise for Ronin when he came home after school the next day.
That surprise was in the form of a large box, presumably a package from the Air Force dad overseas.
“The surprise was extra special because of the anticipation,” Aleecia told Fox News, noting that Mark had been gone for eight months. She added that Ronin missed his father so much that he would sometimes cry himself to sleep at night.
As the son opened the package, he found there was another box inside. Confused, his mom encouraged him to keep opening while she got the whole thing on video.
So Ronin kept opening the boxes, hopeful to get something from his dad.
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In one box, Ronin found a handwritten letter from his dad saying how sorry he was to be away and he wouldn’t be able to make it to his son’s birthday at home, which the eight-year-old read with audible sadness in his voice.
“[Mark] said that his heart was also breaking when he read the letter; I could see a tear in his eye,” Aleecia told Fox News.
After opening box inside box, Ronin finally found a simple note with one word written on it: “Surprise.” That’s when SMSgt. Mark Coffelt stepped out so his son could see him. Ronin instantly ran into his dad’s arms with tears in his eyes! The rest is simply too amazing to put into words!
Watch this unforgettable homecoming in the video below!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.