MOBILE, Ala. -- We celebrate Veterans Day every November 11th, but for Jarriel "Jay" Johnson, a Naval Petty Officer who’s been serving in the Middle East for almost a year, he had his own special holiday, reuniting with his family at a University of South Alabama women’s basketball game.
Johnson, who has been deployed to Bahrain and Abu Dubai for the past 11 months, told FOX10 News he and his three daughters, 9-year-old Josie, and 7-year-old twins, Jenna and Josselyn, along with their mom, Jennifer, have enjoyed going to basketball games with him for years.
But Thursday, November 1, with Johnson’s surprise reunion, set up by head basketball USA womens' head coach Terry Fowler, this would be a game they would remember forever.
Johnson was to be recognized for his service to the country during the game. His family would accept the honor in his place.
They thought he was still based overseas. But when the girls and their mom got to center court for the presentation, South Alabama and Jay Johnson sprung their surprise.
As Petty Officer Johnson strode out from behind a curtain, the girls raced to their father, jumping into his arms and his wife was speechless. It was a happy reunion in front of Jag fans, as they applauded and cheered for the Johnsons.