Teen gets big surprise during Veterans Day ceremony

Credit: Paul Boehlke/KTVB

Teen gets big surprise during Veterans Day ceremony


by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB


Posted on November 12, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 14 at 8:00 AM

NAMPA -- A moving ceremony was held at Nampa High School today to honor the community's veterans.

The highlight was a special surprise for a freshman student who hadn't seen her father at home for seven months.

Nampa High School's assembly to honor veterans had everything you'd expect, with heartfelt speeches, recognition for Nampa and Idaho veterans, and a rousing rendition of the Armed Forces Salute.

But there was one event that at least one student didn't expect.

It involved a veteran who was listening to the assembly from outside the gym - Senior Chief Petty Officer Juan J. Cabrera.

"I usually walk around with a lot of confidence, but obviously, when it comes to my kids, I don't know that I'm totally prepared for it," said Cabrera.

Mya Cabrera is his 14-year-old daughter who the naval officer hasn't seen for seven months. Juan Cabrera has been deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan, and has missed a lot of big events in her life.

"My first high school dance, homecoming," said Mya Cabrera. "Me starting high school, just a lot of the stuff that people that don't have their parents deployed, don't really see the importance of."

But Mya's family and the organizers of the assembly understood the importance of it, which is why they arranged for a surprise reunion.

"I'm just looking forward to a big hug," said Juan Cabrera.

Mya read a poem honoring all veterans, written by a friend who's now serving herself.

"Dear dad, you are the pride of my life and you are the pride of this country, I miss you," Mya read.

Then, as she talked with a fellow student about how much she missed him, her dad emerged.

"My first reaction was just to run and hug him," said Mya.

"I was doing OK until that point, and then I just lost it," said Juan Cabrera. "It was a very special moment in my life."

Juan said the rest of the world melted away.

"At that moment, it's just all about her," he said.

And Mya was overcome with emotion, because her dad was finally home.

"I always saw those videos of the people surprising their kids coming home, and I was like, 'Man, I wish I could have that happen one day.' And, it did," said Mya.

The Cabreras wanted to thank Nampa High School for helping make that incredible moment happen.