Father Surprises Daughters Before Pea Ridge Football Game

PEA RIDGE (KFSM)-- Two young girls were surprised Friday (Nov. 17) night when their father returned home after being deployed for the past 11 months.

Braxton Hurst was deployed to the Horn of Africa and didn't expect to be home until after Thanksgiving.

But he came home early and his wife Courtney Hurst came up with a plan to surprise their 4-and 8-year-old daughters.

Courtney told the girls that they would be delivering the game ball to the referee in honor of their father.

As they walked down the field though, Gracyn Hurst said something strange happened that felt like a dream.

“He started smiling and I was like, 'why is the ref smiling at us,' and when I saw him I ran up and jumped into his arms," Gracyn said. "It was a really good surprise.”

Courtney said the surprise was made possible with the help of some of the athletic officials with the Pea Ridge School District.

She said the moment her girls recognized Braxton was a moment they will never forget.

“We’ve missed him so much and my girls were just absolutely shocked and stunned and overwhelmed with emotion," Courtney said. "So happy to see their daddy.”

Braxton said it has been tough this time around since it was the first time he has been deployed with children.

Thanks to technology they have been able to talk over the phone but he said it just isn't the same as being home with his girls.

“At that age they grow quite fast," Braxton said. It was just real emotional. My about to be 9-year-old Gracyn, my oldest daughter, it was very emotional for her. Anyone who saw the video saw her sobbing a little bit.”

Sunday afternoon, the Hursts could be found at basketball practice like any other Sunday.

Courtney said the girls have been glued to Braxton since he got home and they plan to spend a lot more time together.