YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) — “Homecoming” had more than one meaning at a Friday night high school football game in Oklahoma. Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Jarvis surprised his children at their school’s homecoming, reuniting with his family a month earlier than expected. They had no idea that dad was coming home.
Jarvis had just returned from his overseas deployment—his fourth deployment overall. He drove to Yukon from Texas on Friday, arriving before Yukon High School’s homecoming football game—and just in time to walk his daughter Emelyn onto the field for homecoming court.
“He missed her first steps and when I was praying and thinking about this, I just was like, ‘Man, I just hope that he can be here to walk her these steps out onto the field,'” said his wife, Heather Jarvis. “And so something happened and it came through.”
It had been 10 months since Jarvis and his family were all together. He said his kids had “grown so much” since he’d been away, and he’s ready to start catching up. “I left Christmas night,” he said. “I’m looking forward to just having some one-on-one quiet time in our house and just enjoy each other’s company.”
Friday night’s reunion was a memory the Jarvis family says they will never forget. “Today was extremely exciting. Once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Jarvis, who thanked his superiors at the Army National Guard for helping to make the moment happen. “It felt surreal,” he added. “It was kind of like, ‘Is this happening?’ You know, ‘Is this real life?’ But yeah, it was incredible.”
And it wasn’t just the Jarvis family celebrating. More than 120 soldiers with the Oklahoma National Guard were scheduled to return home on Saturday following a nine-month deployment overseas.