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Army dad's homecoming surprises Johnston County kids

Posted June 8, 2012

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— A Johnston County soldier deployed for a year in South Korea returned home Friday to the surprise of his two young children caught off guard at their elementary school.

Eight-year-old Austin Jernigan and 9-year-old Micala Jernigan and their classmates were dancing in the gymnasium at Corinth-Holders Elementary School in Zebulon when Toby Keith's "American Soldier" blared from the school's sound system and out walked Army Sgt. Michael Jernigan.

"It's something different. They've always known when I'm coming home," Jernigan, 28, said. "It's exciting. I'm just glad to see them. I'm just glad to be home with them."

Jernigan and his wife, Joy, had been hiding in a utility closet waiting for the moment. The kids thought their dad was coming home next month.

"I think they were shocked," Joy Jernigan said. "They couldn't even speak for a minute. They weren't quite sure it was real, and then, when they realized it was, I think they were overjoyed."

Army Sgt. Michael Jernigan Army dad's homecoming surprises kids

Sgt. Jernigan will be home for 30 days before he returns to South Korea for another year.

Until then, the family is planning on catching up on all the activities they normally don't get to do together. This weekend, they've planned a trip to Busch Gardens.

"It means everything to come home and to see them. They understand the job I do," Sgt. Jernigan said. "They support me, and that's the biggest thing."

14 Comments

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  • bgrmom Jun 8, 2012

    Awesome way to surprise the kids! May the family enjoy some fun things together! Thank yoy, Sgt. Jernigan, for your service!

  • Uhavenoclu Jun 8, 2012

    Not sure what "made up story" Uhavenoclu is talking about. The situation is real. Why can't you be happy for someone who hasn't seen their family for over a year?

    I haven't seen my "Family",in many years..I have learned to live independently for family is not necessarily blood,for you read many families fight and argue and hate each other,while many friends feel closer and even strangers and co workers...so what do you mean by "Family".?..Life is not like many think..Being born..Going to School...Getting a job...Finding a spouse...Buying a house...saving your money So you can enjoy 2 days a week or a couple weeks a year then "Retire",when you get "Old"...
    So limited ways and thinking.Life is FREE...I WILL BE THAT WHICH I WILL TO BE...If you read the bible which many claim to live by but have never read and only go by hearsay from a minister at a phony house of God you will know "We are all one"..Lott and his Daughters,...so we are all family...

  • scooter13 Jun 8, 2012

    Not sure what "made up story" Uhavenoclu is talking about. The situation is real. Why can't you be happy for someone who hasn't seen their family for over a year?

  • scooper7 Jun 8, 2012

    I love seeing stories like this. Whether it's one soldier or a whole unit of them it's an amazing thing. We need more news like this than all of the negative stories. Thank you for your service as well as all the other military heroes!

  • westernwake1 Jun 8, 2012

    This is the type of story I like to see in the news...

  • bugaboo8302 Jun 8, 2012

    I know this family personally. Thank you Michael for your service. Thank you Joy for standing by your husband.
    There is a video in ABC11's page.

  • jjordan231179 Jun 8, 2012

    How about doing a story like this with all soldiers returning home to their families especially their children.
    charmcclainlovesdogs2
    June 8, 2012 4:42 p.m.
    Report abuse

    Cant. America is voting for war. Romney or Obama = war.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Jun 8, 2012

    How about doing a story like this with all soldiers returning home to their families especially their children.

  • OneLove Jun 8, 2012

    Awww, sweet story! Nice to read good news.

  • Ms.Manda Jun 8, 2012

    Awww

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