Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Father flies home to Elkmont for graduation surprise

ELKMONT, Ala. - Thursday was graduation day for more than 100 kids in Elkmont. One senior's dad flew around the globe to surprise him for his big day.

"I haven't seen my son in a year," U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Nate Owen said.

Counting down the days, Staff Sergeant Nate Owen hoped to be back in Alabama for his son's graduation. "I missed his birth while I was at basic training 18 years ago by 12 hours. So, I didn't want to miss this."

As the seniors donned their red and black, filing into Elkmont's gym, Nate Jr. had no idea his dad was in the building.

"Mum was the word, we couldn't say anything," Nate Jr.'s grandfather Victor Owen said.

So, as his name was called, Nate's principal had a surprise in store.

While the whole moment lasted just that, Nate Jr. said he was shocked and overcome with emotion that his dad surprised him on his big day. And he's just glad he's home.

"He's a level-headed cool kid. I couldn't ask for a better son," Owen said.

"Us being able to do what we're doing right now is from the blood that's been spilled by the many people who've given their lives for this country and for the red, white and blue," Victor said.

After three deployments and nearly 20 years of service, Nate Sr. says he hopes this time he's home for good.

This week is also Nate's 18th birthday.