Happy tears flowed at Putnam County Middle and Elementary schools last Friday when U.S. Navy LS2 (EXW) Wesley Crouch greeted his daughters upon returning from active duty in the United Arab Emirates.
After his recent tour of duty, as soon as Crouch was given permission to leave, the Putnam County native’s first stop after he made it home was to see his children.
Family members, including his wife, Karen Crouch, who is also from Putnam County; his mother, Stella Sheppard; and his in-laws, Slay and Carol Drewery, joined Crouch at the schools to surprise Kayleigh Head, Brittlynn Head and Sophie Crouch, who hadn’t seen their father in nearly a year.
Nine-year-old Sophie, a fourth grader at PCES, was sitting at the lunchroom table surrounded by her classmates, other students and teachers when she heard her father yell out to her above the cafeteria noise.
When he called her name, Sophie turned around to see her father standing at the entrance, dressed in his service uniform and holding a patriotic colored bouquet of flowers for her.
Seeming not to believe her eyes, the nine-year-old froze in place, along with the rest of the onlookers, until her father went over and took her into his arms for a big hug.
When 11-year old Brittlynn was called into the school’s conference room, she had a look of confusion on her face as she walked into the room and she saw her mother, her sister, Sophie, and grandparents inside.
That confusion was soon turned into joy when she heard her father’s voice from behind her ask, “What’s that look on your face for?”
The sixth grader gasped in shock before running into his arms.
Tears of joy continued to flow at the middle school lunchroom when Kayleigh saw her father over the crowd of fellow students.
The eighth grader jumped up from her seat at the table and rushed into the arms of Crouch where she hugged him tight as if to verify he was really home.
Through tears and laughter, shouts of hurray and applause, those who witnessed the reunion shared the overwhelming sense of relief displayed by the children and family at having their loved one home.
“I am very proud of him for the sacrifices he’s made to his country and to his family,” Karen said.
“And we are so happy to have him home.”