Valdosta Daily Times

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February 6, 2012

Soldier home in time for Father-Daughter Valentine Dance

VALDOSTA — Staff Sgt. David Smothers shocked his children with his surprise return from his Afghanistan deployment on Friday, just in time to escort his daughter to the annual Father-Daughter Valentine Dance on Saturday evening.

Samantha, 5, and Dylan, 3, were spending an ordinary afternoon watching a movie at the Y.M.C.A. after-care program with all of the other kids when their dad entered the room.

“I kneeled down and called each one of their names and first my son Dylan came running to me,” Sgt. Smothers said. “I had to call my daughter’s name a second time because she had turned back around to look at the movie, but when she saw my face that second time she came running.”

Samantha said she felt happy the moment she saw her daddy’s face, and when she was finally able to hug her daddy again, that made her “really happy”.

Smothers, who described his daughter as beautiful, incredibly intelligent, and downright awesome, said it felt amazing to be reunited with Dylan and Samantha.

“You know, to be honest, words really can’t describe the feeling of being with your children after wanting to be able to hold them for forever,” said Smothers. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

This year marks the second time Smothers and Samantha have participated in the Father-Daughter Dance. The first time they participated was in 2009, when Samantha was just 2. That time also directly followed Smothers’ return from a deployment.

“Every time I deploy I somehow get to make it home for the Father-Daughter Dance,” said Smothers.

The couple attended the third session of the dance, which took place Saturday evening at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center. They were a sight to see out on the dance floor, Smothers in a shirt and tie, his date in her pretty flowered dress.

Samantha said she enjoyed the songs played at the dance and felt happy to spend the evening with her dad.

Although Smothers must continue his deployment in two weeks, he is cherishing this time he has to spend with Samantha and Dylan.

 When asked what he enjoyed most about the Father-Daughter Dance, Smothers said, “ I loved being able to have fun dancing with my daughter, without having to worry about anything else but spending that moment with her.”

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