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    Airman plans surprise homecoming during MLK 5K

    Airman plans surprise homecoming during MLK 5K

    Photo By Nathan Wilkes | Tech. Sgt. Russell Dela Montanye of the 446th Logistics Readiness Flight hugs his...... read more read more



    Story by Nathan Wilkes 

    Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office     

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Despite the rain pouring around her and the air burning in her lungs, 8 year old Celine Dela Montanye was determined to finish the race. She began the 5K, an event hosted by I Corps and the 62nd Airlift Wing to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as a dedication to her father and all deployed service members.

    Little did she know that while she was splashing her way across the race track, her father, Tech. Sgt. Russell Dela Montanye of the 446th Logistics Readiness Flight, would be waiting as she crossed the finish line.

    Deployed since mid-July, Dela Montanye wanted to organize something special for his young daughter. Coordinating with his wife, April, several plans were made, revised and remade.

    “We had a couple of ideas fall through as he made his way back to the U.S., but we managed to pull it off,” April said. “With the timing of things, we thought the MLK 5K was the perfect opportunity to surprise Celine and show our support for MLK Day at the same time.”

    As Celine rounded the corner to the finish line, she was greeted with the familiar face of her father, his arms outstretched holding a bouquet of her favorite pink roses. All thoughts of the rain and the race immediately disappeared and were replaced with waterfalls of emotion.

    “Daddy! You’re finally home,” she sobbed through tears as she crossed the tape. “I missed you so much.”

    The emotional homecoming surprise proved successful and Dela Montanye was overjoyed to be reunited with his daughter. Wiping tears from his daughter’s face he said, “It feels good to be home, to be with my family again, and to be able to watch Celine grow up again.”

    For Celine, the reunion seemed too good to be true.

    “I thought I was dreaming,” Celine said. “I ran faster, so I can hug Daddy before I woke up!”

    With the family reunited, spirits are at an all-time high in the Dela Montanye household.

    “It feels amazing,” Celine said. “I feel a thousand percent excited that when I wake up, because I know my Daddy is home, and I get to hang out with him.”



    Date Taken: 01.28.2020
    Date Posted: 01.28.2020 16:20
    Story ID: 360723

    Web Views: 23
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