Soldier Returns Early, Surprises Daughter

Soldier Returns Early, Surprises Daughter

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15-year-old Laken Cole thought her father, Sergeant First Class David Allen Cole, was in Kuwait, where he was deployed 10 months ago when his big arms wrapped themselves around her shoulders Friday night.

“At first I thought it was my other cousin, but she’s a girl and I thought, these are man’s hands, it can’t be her!” says Laken.

“Me and my sister and everyone else knew he was coming back early, but she did not,” says Connor Cole.

Connor and Hannah, Laken’s older brother and sister wanted to make this homecoming special for Laken.

“I used to go to his house every weekend and I’m a daddy’s girl,” says Laken.

Kuwait was Cole’s last deployment; his military contract is up in 16 months.

“The feeling’s extra special because we knew it was going to be his last time, we wouldn’t have to worry about him going back over there and being in the line of fire,” says Connor.

Though he’s home now, there was a lot he missed out on.

“When we comes to my games and watches me cheer, he missed that, and I really hated it. I would have ran for Homecoming Maid for tenth grade and he would have walked me out but I just didn’t want to do it,” says Laken.

And for it to be special, a lot of planning went into the special moment.

“She cheers for Monroe County High School so we had hoped to surprise her at a football game but their football game got canceled,” says Hannah Hood, Laken’s older sister.

That’s when the party moved to David’s Catfish House up the road. The patience and planning paid off.

“We thought at first because of her reaction, we thought, oh, she’s got this figured out, but then when the tears started flowing we knew she couldn’t fake that,” says Hannah.

“And I looked, and it took a minute to process and I just lost it,” says Laken.

Now Cole and all his children will have plenty of time to catch up, giving this coming Veteran’s Day weekend even more meaning.

“It’s been really hard and I’m just, I’m really happy he’s home,” adds Laken.

Cole had to be back at Fort Benning, Georgia this week but he will be back home Thursday night. He came home early due to a shoulder injury, for which he will be getting surgery.

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