A Cumberland County soldier surprised his daughters Friday night, returning from Afghanistan for their halftime performance during the last regular-season high school football game of the year.
Lt. Col. Joseph Conrad is in charge of the Join Robotics Repair Detachment with the Army Reserves. Though he’s been in the military for more than 20 years, this recent mission was his first deployment overseas.
“Uncle Sam really did a great job taking care of us over there, but you just couldn’t replace the hugging and kissing your family,” said Conrad.
He got to do just that for the first time in more than eight months Friday night.
His daughters, Riley and Allison, are in Mechanicsburg’s marching band. The school’s football team played against Cedar Cliff Friday night.
The girls knew their dad would be home some time this month, but they didn’t know it would be Friday. Their mom suggested the big surprise.
After the band’s performance, Conrad appeared at the top of a platform at the 50-yard line.
The girls weren’t facing him at the time. But, as soon as the announcer mentioned their dad’s name, they turned and started running.
“I looked back and saw my dad, and I just started crying. And I didn’t even know what to think,” said Conrad’s younger daughter, Riley.
The girls will compete Saturday in a national competition. Their dad will be there to cheer them on.