One military dad made quite the entrance at his son’s high school football game in Milford, Connecticut, surprising him at the 50-yard line dressed as a referee.
“I was nervous,” Master Sgt. Joe Egersheim, who was deployed for a year, told ABC News of the heartwarming moment he surprised his son, Cole Egersheim, a senior at Jonathan Law High School. “My biggest concern was how he was going to react. When he plays football, he’s very focused. But what I got was the greatest reaction ever.”
The football tight end, strong safety and kicker told ABC News that he was “really confused at first,” because he had no idea his dad was back stateside from Kuwait.
“We got down to the field and then the referee said, ‘We have an honorary referee,’ and I didn't even think about it until he said, ‘Joe,’ and then he started laughing,” Cole Egersheim, 17, recalled. “Then I knew it was him because I recognized his laugh. I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ then I bent down and just absorbed it for a second, then got up and hugged him.”
Cole Egersheim’s twin sister, Olivia Egersheim, is a cheerleader and was also at the game. She was aware her dad would be home sooner than originally planned, but had no idea when or that he was planning the surprise.
“I was so excited to finally see him after a year,” she said. “When I saw that Cole realized it was our dad, I ran out there because I wasn’t expecting him there.”
Their mom, Robin Egersheim, who helped plan the touching reunion, said the surprise “could not have worked out any better.”
“It was priceless and that’s really what I wanted,” she said. “It was very special to see Joe surprise them like that. We’re very close to our kids. It was just an awesome, awesome feeling.”
The cherry on the cake? They won the game.
“My son played a heck of a game,” said Joe Egersheim. “When I was talking to him I said, ‘You gonna give me this game?’ and he said, ‘Yep, this is your game.’ My son kept his word. He’s a heck of a football player. I’m very proud of him.”
The proud father has no current plans for redeployment, but his wife is already keeping him busy at home.
“It’s been an overwhelming five days so far,” he said. “But I got the honey-do list, which I’m working on now. She wants a new kitchen so I’ve got to get back to work.”
“He knew that was the first thing on tap when he got home,” Robin Egersheim said with a laugh. “We’re going to try to start ripping it apart in time for Thanksgiving.”