Military Father Surprises His Children

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Students at West Lauderdale Elementary School Tuesday got the surprise of their young lives.

Their father, who has been deployed for the last five months in Iraq, returned home late Monday.

Senior Master Sgt. James Bunyard, a firefighter with the 186th Air Refueling Wing, waited to surprise them at school and they were obviously delighted to see him.

His daughter, Gracie, was speechless, while his son, Branson, couldn't wait to give dad a big hug. The youngest is in pre-school.

Bunyard has been working in Baghdad as the fire chief at the busiest airport in the city. And while he is he proud of his work, he is even happier to be home.

"Knowing that you are finally home you are out of harm's way, you are back home with your family. You've got four months to make up," said Bunyard. "Missed a lot of holidays, anniversaries, birthdays. You can't replace those. But you have to carry on with what you have got."

His wife, Heather, says she feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. Her husband, she says, is the family's rock.

"I just wanted to drop to my knees and thank the good Lord that he brought him back home to us, because he's our rock; he is our everything and without him it just wasn't home," said Heather.

Branson, who is in third grade, is still surprised that his father actually slept in their house late Monday night without the children knowing.

"Yes I was surprised. I could have probably heard him snoring if they hadn't closed the door," he said.

For the next two weeks the family plans to spend as much time together as possible.

Bunyard says his kids have been extremely strong while he's been gone.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by SANDRA Location: MERIDIAN on Jan 28, 2010 at 08:53 AM
    I AM SO THANKFUL JAMIE IS HOME SAFE. I AM SO PROUD OF HIM AND ALL THE OTHER MEN AND WOMEN WHO CONTINUE TO SERVE. WE NEED TO PAUSE AND REMEMBER THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO DID NOT RETURN AND THE SACRFICES THEY MADE FOR US. THERE ARE MANY PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, WIVES, HUSBANDS AND CHILDREN WHO CONTINUE TO GRIEVE FOR THEIR LOVED ONES. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES SO WE CAN HAVE OUR FREEDOM!!
  • by SOCCER MOM Location: MERIDIAN on Jan 27, 2010 at 04:49 PM
    I WOULD LIKE TO SAY WELCOME HOME.. JAMIE IS A GREAT GUY HE WAS MY SON'S CHASE SOCCER COACH.. THAT'S FOR ALL U HAVE DONE ANS A SAFE RETURN HOME...
  • by Britney on Jan 27, 2010 at 11:16 AM
    Thank you to all who serve our country and defend and protect our freedom. I know you do not do just to hear "thank you" or "well done" but you deserve that and much more. Thank you all for a job well done . Keep up the good fight and you all will be in my prayers!
  • by Stephanie Location: Meridian on Jan 27, 2010 at 06:37 AM
    Welcome Home Jamie!! Thanks for all you do for us!!
  • by KeithMc Location: Meridian on Jan 26, 2010 at 08:19 PM
    thanks for your service and safe return....GREAT suprise for you family.... May God Bless you all...
  • by Kaye Location: Mentone, AL on Jan 26, 2010 at 06:10 PM
    May God bless you, Jamie. What a sweet way to surprise your children. We are proud of you.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2010 at 05:55 PM
    welcome home,thanks,a job well done. god bless
  • by mimi Location: county on Jan 26, 2010 at 04:18 PM
    Sweet story! I loved the comment by his son at the end of the clip, so cute. Welcome home, and thank you for your service, Sgt. Bunyard!!
  • by Frankie on Jan 26, 2010 at 04:12 PM
    Jamie is a heck of a nice guy! Welcome home, great story!
  • by Pat Location: Toomsuba on Jan 26, 2010 at 03:10 PM
    I want to offer my sincere thanks to all who serve so we may stay free. My son has gone over twice already, so I understand the feelings of the families also. I truly appreciate the military men and women and the family members left at home to carry on. My prayer for all is that God's grace will left them up and carry them through.
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