Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 9, 2013

Airman surprises son after overseas deployment

VALDOSTA —

Six-year-old Christian Kunzman, a first grader at Sallas Mahone Elementary, sat with his classmates as they listened for the sirens of a fire truck.

The students were told the fire department would show a safety demonstration, but little did they know that one of them was in for a huge surprise.

As the truck pulled up, a soldier in uniform emerged, followed by a man in fire protective gear. The soldier asked the audience who wanted to try on a fire helmet and Christian, among many other classmates, raised his hand.

Selected to step forward, Christian was asked to remove the fireman’s helmet. As the fireman crouched down, Christian reached for his helmet, removed it and looked into the eyes of his father, Sgt. Eric Kunzman.

Kunzman, a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, has been stationed in South Korea at Osan Airbase for the past year. Now that he is home, he could not hold on tighter to his little boy.

“It feels wonderful and great,” Kunzman said. “I’m kind of shocked he knew it was me. He is a very smart boy.”

Kunzman’s wife, Crystal, was also overwhelmed with joy to see her son reunite with his father.

“My heart is whole again. I felt like there was always something missing with him being gone and now it’s complete, I’m happy,” Crystal said.

Now that he is home, he is ready to settle in and enjoy time with his family.

“It feels like a thousand pounds is lifted off my shoulders. It’s great to be home,” Kunzman said.

As the family hugged each other close, Christian looked at his dad with the biggest smile, glanced at the crowd before him and told them how he felt.

“I want to keep him,” Christian said.

The family appreciates all of the support they have received and for those who made this experience possible. Happier than ever, the Kunzman family is thankful to have Eric home.

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