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Kindergarten Boy Gets Surprise Visit from Grandfather Back from - KOAM TV 7

Kindergarten Boy Gets Surprise Visit from Grandfather Back from Serving US Army in Kuwait

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  The military life is not for everyone.

      It takes sacrifice for the soldier and the family that moves too, or is left at home. 

But today three generations are  celebrating a homecoming surprise in Joplin. 

Five year  old Dustin Ballard and  his kindergarten class got a special guest clear from Kuwait.. Dustin's grandfather.

First sergeant Michael Ballard is back after nine months across the globe and his grandson is glad.

" Because i missed him," says Dustin. 

Dustin's dad Kent Ballard adds, "It was very hard. He would talk to him on the phone and they had face time and afterwards he would cry.  He missed his papa."

First Sergeant Michael Ballard when asked,  "what was the hardest part about being away?” Indicating Dustin in his arms, “Right here, right here. 

Yep, missing my mom, my wife, and my sons.” 

Ballard has spent twenty-six  years in the army doing tours in Iraq and Kuwait.  Even though he works with vehicle and radio maintenance he taught kindergartners to march and  salute. And then Dustin's 

Grandpa shared story time about the things a soldier does when he's away.

Something the Ballard family has experienced a lot.

Ballard says, " We've missed graduations, missed marriages.  We've missed funerals and Faith my wife made a lot of sacrifices. 

 Four years of the twenty-six I didn't see my spouse."

And she knows all too well how special homecomings can be.

Faith says, "It's like high school all over again. Goose bumps when you see your children excited to get to see that.  I wanted  Dustin to experience something his father got to experience." 

Dustin's Dad remembers those homecomings, "It was magical, wonderful to have him home and safe." 

And the icing on the cake now is that Grandpa put in his retirement papers.

Ballard says, "So after twenty-seven  years I'll get to spend time with my family. So this is really special knowing that this is the last  time. "

      The Ballards moved as a family about every two to three years to numerous states, and internationally to Turkey and Korea with Ballard himself going to Iraq and Kuwait.

      His son hopes his parents retire close to Joplin.
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