By Lisa Capobianco
Five-year-old Jackson Musshorn thought he was just playing an improvised game with his peers one day in the gymnasium of the Southington YMCA until an unexpected visit showed up. While standing in the middle of a circle with a blindfold on, Jackson, who was participating in the YMCA’s Amazing Kids Club, had to guess the identity of the person standing right in front of him.
“Daddy,” Jackson said aloud as he took his blindfold off. Wrapping his arms around his father’s shoulders, Jackson was nearly speechless at what had just happened.
Jackson’s father, Sergeant TJ Musshorn, who serves in the Military Police of the U.S. Army, surprised him upon his return home from Afghanistan. He had been away for a year.
“The support is unbelievable,” said Sergeant Musshorn, who has served in the U.S. Army for four years now. “It’s even more so coming home.”
Musshorn, who served overseas since last April, said his wife Liz had planned the surprise a while back. The night before the surprise, Liz, along with other members of the Musshorn family, rented a bus to greet Musshorn with a homecoming celebration in Massachusetts upon the sergeant’s arrival.
Feeling excited about the surprise homecoming, Liz said Jackson had no idea about her secret plan. From the time Musshorn departed for Afghanistan last year, Liz and Jackson, along with his 11-month-old sister Priscilla, corresponded with the sergeant via Skype.
“He deserves it—it’s his son,” said Liz, who works as a fitness instructor at the YMCA.
During the surprise homecoming at the YMCA, members of the community saw the reunion up close, including Musshorn’s father and stepmother. Patrick Musshorn said he anticipated seeing the look on his grandson’s face, especially since Jackson could not stop talking about his father just a few days before the homecoming.
“It’s great—it’s beyond words,” Patrick Musshorn said.
“This is one of those really feel-good stories,” added John Myers, the Executive Director of the YMCA, who also saw the reunion up close with his colleagues.
Liz said she planned to have the surprise homecoming at the YMCA, since it has become a part of her family.
“It wouldn’t be right not to do it here,” said Liz, adding that she has received a tremendous outpour of support from her colleagues. “They’ve all been going through this with me.”
After Sergeant Musshorn reunited with his son, members of the community attending the surprise homecoming greeted and hugged him, displaying tears of joy in their eyes. Rachel Wache, of the American Legion Auxiliary, said she felt overjoyed to be part of the reunion. Last year, Wache, along with other members of the community, contributed to the Giving Back Girls’ “Fill That Military Truck” fundraiser by donating items for deploying soldiers. Wache said Musshorn’s unit was one of many that received these care packages.
“I’m really honored,” Wache said. “It’s so happy to come back to a happy occasion.”
The reunion ended with a game of football between Sergeant Musshorn and Jackson, along with his peers.
“Dad, try to tackle me,” Jackson said as he played football in the gymnasium with his peers, wearing a t-shirt that read, “Welcome Home Daddy. You Are My Hero.”