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Enquirer photo/Lauren Jackson

Hartselle homecoming

Local soldier surprises son during pre-school graduation

When Cameron Tate’s name was called during his pre-school graduation, he received more than a certificate. After almost a year of his dad being stationed in Korea, Cameron got a graduation day surprise when U.S. Army Capt. Jamie Tate walked out to greet him.

Cameron’s mother, Jordan Tate, organized the surprise for her son. She said originally Jamie was not meant to be home for another month, but he had leave saved up to come home early. When the dates aligned, she knew they had to do something special.

“Little Cameron – he had a hard time with his dad being away because he doesn’t understand it. I knew I had to do something for him, to really surprise him,” Jordan said.

Jordan contacted the church to help organize the special moment and enlisted the help of her parents. “I couldn’t have done it without my parents; they were the only ones that knew. I told everyone he’d be back at the end of the month, and that was hard. I don’t lie well,” Jordan said. “That was pretty hard, when I had to tell people the end of the month, when inside I wanted to scream ‘Next week!’”

When the night finally came for the surprise, Cameron walked to the front for a picture with his teacher while his dad walked out a door behind him. Jordan said their son’s reaction was nothing short of shock.

“I don’t think he understood. He thought (his dad) was fixing to turn around and go back. He doesn’t understand how far Korea is; he thought that was going to be it, and that he was going to have to go back,” Jordan said. “When I sat him down in the pew to explain that Daddy is with us, and we are going to Hawaii together, then it hit – and he was excited.”

The Tate’s middle child, Annabelle, was also surprised when her father came home. “She didn’t know anything. I didn’t realize it because my dad was sitting on the other end of the pew with her, but she was pulling on people and running down the pew. I think she was more surprised than Cameron was,” Jordan said.

Following the homecoming, the Tates have been enjoying being able to spend time together again. Jordan, Jamie and their three children will be moving to Hawaii for Jamie’s next duty station.