Seven-year-old Imogen Nowak recently got the surprise of her life when her father, U.S. Army Captain Erik Nowak, returned home early from his latest deployment!
In a video posted to Facebook, the adorable second grader spoke to her classmates about military families and how receiving simple items from home can feel like a luxury to those serving overseas. “Even one package of candy means like all the money in the world to them,” Imogen told the students at Quaker Valley Osbourne Elementary School.
At that moment, Captain Nowak — who had been away for seven months — surprised his daughter by sneaking up behind her and saying, “I liked it a lot.” Needless to say, the little girl was ecstatic, yelling “Daddy!” and jumping into his arms. The one-minute clip has since been viewed over 22,000 times.
“For the next 30 to 45 minutes she wouldn’t let go of him. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house,” school counselor Leah Lindenfelser told Today. “It was the purest joy possible. You could just see in her face that it was pure disbelief that her dad was there.”
Captain Nowak added, “My reaction was to just hold her. I could tell she was overwhelmed emotionally … It was happening really fast. She actually looked at me up and down as if she wasn’t sure that I was really there. And then she just jumped in my arms and started crying.”
Imogen’s mom, Krista Nowak, explained, "That’s what coming home is all about. Erik and I had our individual welcome back at the airport. But when you see a father and daughter — knowing how much she missed him, your heart just swells and you know all the hard work up until this point has been worth it when you see that look on her face.”
What a wonderful reunion!