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Guardsman surprises 3-year-old son after being away 570 days serving his country

After 570 days serving his country, Sgt. Michael Nester gets to hug his son, Jonah.
After 570 days serving his country, Sgt. Michael Nester gets to hug his son, Jonah.(Family)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A member of the Louisiana National Guard surprised his young son after being away from his family for 570 days serving his country.

Three-year-old Jonah thought it was just a regular dinner night with the grandparents but he got the biggest surprise. He hasn’t seen his dad since he was just a year old.

“Nothing has filled the void with him being gone,” said Barbara Gallo, Jonah’s grandmother. “it’s been a part of our family missing.”

Sgt. Michael Nester is with the Louisiana National Guard and he had to leave his family in March of 2020 to help his country.

“He was called out to open the first COVID facility in the state, so from that time, he went to hurricanes, then he went back to the COVID facility, and then he deployed - a total of 570,” added Gallo.

Nester has been gone for 570 days. He missed 74 family dinners, along with holidays and birthdays.

However, Nester got to do the one thing he’s wanted to do for a long time, see his family and hug his son. Nester entered the restaurant with a rumble of applause from other customers but he focused on his son, waiting for him to turn his head. After Jonah turned and saw his father, he immediately embraced him.

It’s a moment that Nester will never forget and one that he is eternally grateful for.

“I’m just happy to be home, spend time with my son again,” he said.

The Louisiana National Guard has been welcoming home dozens of soldiers from several different units all week, after serving missions at home and abroad.

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