Home for the holidays: Soldier surprises daughters

Staff Sgt. Michael Daugherty is reunited with his daughters Gracie and Sophie Daugherty at Chelsea Park Elementary School on Friday, Dec. 12. Michael is home from his deployment in Japan where he has been since August. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Staff Sgt. Michael Daugherty is reunited with his daughters Gracie and Sophie Daugherty at Chelsea Park Elementary School on Friday, Dec. 12. Michael is home from his deployment in Japan where he has been since August. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

CHELSEA–A kindergarten student at Chelsea Park Elementary School and her sister received a special surprise visit and early Christmas present during lunch on Friday, Dec. 12.

Gracie and Sophie Daugherty have not seen their father since August due to his military deployment and now get to spend the next couple of weeks with him while he’s home.

Staff Sgt. Michael Sean Daugherty has been stationed in Japan and has served in the Air Force since 2009 and today he was able to reunite with his wife and daughters in a special moment in the cafeteria.

“I was just kind of in shock and awe, I was just really happy to see their faces,” said Daugherty of when he finally saw his daughters for the first time in four months. “It’s been extremely hard and I’ve been very fortunate in the military that I haven’t had to leave them for more than two weeks since I’ve joined, but this has been really difficult. I’m really close to my daughters and we wanted to surprise them and kind of make it a better moment, which it has been.”

In the time Michael has been overseas, he has tried to FaceTime his family every other night but it was difficult sometimes, due to the 14-hour time difference.

Now that Michael is back home with his family, he plans to celebrate both of his daughter’s birthdays and make a trip to one of the restaurant’s he’s badly missed.

“I’ve missed Milo’s, that’s one of the places I’m really excited to eat at,” Michael said with a chuckle.

When the girls first saw Michael, they embraced him and hugged him for a couple of minutes, which caused a few teachers to shed a tear during the moment.

Michael will spend a little more than three weeks with his family for the holidays before being deployed again to Japan.