WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia teenager got a surprise from a special soldier on Friday.
Her dad, who’s been deployed with the Army for the last nine months, returned home early.
WAVY 10 On Your Side was there for the emotional homecoming.
Sgt. Ray Cortright may be back from serving overseas in Kuwait, but he was on his biggest mission yet in Hampton Roads.
“It’s been really rough because I’m trying not to give off any hints,” Cortright said.
Cortright hadn’t seen his 14-year-old daughter Piper in nine months. The two are no strangers to deployment — this is the fourth one they’ve been through.
“For the both of us, we have a really strong bond so being away from each other, it’s rough,” Cortright said.
The soldier last spoke to his daughter two days ago.
Piper thought she was coming to Revolution Golf and Grille for a team-building night with her volleyball club. She has no idea her dad was on the other side of her blindfold, which she wore for one of the night’s activities.
Piper took a moment to register who she was looking at once she removed the blindfold, then jumped into her father’s arms, unable to hold back the tears.
“Just waiting to get to this moment — you’re waiting nine months and then those last few seconds feel like another nine months,” Cortright said.
BELOW: Full raw footage of the happy homecoming.
“It’s surreal. It felt like a dream almost but it was real, I think,” Piper said, looking up at her dad.
“It’s definitely real,” Cortright replied to her.
The reunion comes just in time. The team is playing in a tournament next weekend. It’s the first time Cortright will be able to watch his daughter in action during a big game.
“I’m really excited for him to finally see, like, me and my team actually playing instead of just videos,” Piper said.
Now that he’s home for good, the father and daughter said they plan to make up for lost time.
“Just trying to do as much as she wants on her terms because she’s done everything on my terms and now I can do it on hers,” Cortright said.
This is Cortright’s final deployment.
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