PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - While the last day of school and the beginning of summer break is always a happy time for students, one Paragould boy had an extra special start to vacation.
Woodrow Wilson student Thomas Beeson had no clue what his afternoon would entail when he headed to lunch Wednesday.
"My son thinks I'm two days out right now and he doesn't know I'm here today," Warren Beeson told Region 8 News Wednesday morning.
Beeson is in the First Infantry Division of the United States Army.
He has been deployed in Afghanistan since August 2016.
"I was deployed at Mazar-i-Sharif as part of operations Resolute Support and Freedom Sentinel," Beeson said.
But it has been even longer since he saw Thomas.
"It was right around February or March of last year," he said.
The last time Beeson lived in the same state as his son was in 2011.
"When I was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas when his mother was also there," Beeson said. "And then she moved to Arkansas and I got sent to Hawaii."
Which means that Beeson has missed out on a lot of his son's life.
"He needs that solid male role model in his life and, you know, I'm part of that but only in a digital way or like a visit every so often way and definitely not as much as we would like it to be," he said.
But, Wednesday was the start of a new time for his family, beginning with a surprise in the cafeteria.
Thomas was expecting his mom to join him for lunch but was shocked to see his dad walk up to the table as well.
"I did miss you," Thomas said as he hugged his father.
Now, a trip with his dad will mark the end of third grade for him.
"It just makes me feel happy," Thomas said.
His dad will soon be stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, just a three-hour drive from Paragould and Thomas.
"I'm looking forward the most to just being able to take up that mantle of responsibility and guide him to be a good man," Beeson said.
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