SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — A U.S. Army Specialist from Spartanburg County returned home Friday from deployment and surprised his daughter at Inman Elementary School.
It started out like any other school lunch. 3rd grader Kathleen McDermott-Williams came into the cafeteria to eat with her class. In the front office, a big surprise was waiting.
“It could be tense, stressful sometimes, but I think you have to have a great foundation and a solid home,” said U.S. Army Specialist Khalill Williams.
Kathleen’s father, Spc. Williams, was waiting to see his daughter for the first time since Thanksgiving.
“I try to set a good example for her,” said Williams.
He’s been deployed and serving in Germany. His parents have cared for his daughter while he’s been gone.
“I don’t think she understands the serving part, but she knows what I do. Like, she kind of gets it. ‘Daddy is away because he’s in the Army,” said Williams.
“It’s hard,” said Lynndale Landrum, Williams’ mother. “It’s very hard. It’s very, very hard.”
His mother said he makes a lot of sacrifices and misses big moments.
“He’s missed everything. Christmases, birthdays, anniversary parties, vow renewals. He’s missed everything,” said Landrum.
But he talks with his daughter often.
“Every day. Every day or every other day,” said Williams.
Friday was a reunion months in the making and Williams said he’s been looking forward to this moment.
“It means everything. That’s the only thing that I was able to use to get my mind off of Germany and everything, was seeing her and waiting for this day to come, to come home and see her. It means everything now,” said Williams.
While Kathleen ate lunch with her friends, her dad walked in.
“I don’t ever wear a uniform outside of work, but I’m trying to send a message to her like, ‘Hey, this is why daddy is always gone because I sacrifice for you,’” said Williams.
The father-daughter duo shared a hug and a moment filled with smiles and laughter.
“I know what my sense of purpose is, it’s her,” said Williams.
It’s a happy reunion for the family who said they are looking forward to spending time together.
“Daddy duty, the entire time,” said Williams.
Spc. Williams said he’ll be home for three weeks, relaxing and playing with his daughter. Then, he’s heading to Fort Stewart in Georgia.
He said he’s looking forward to playing with his daughter and relaxing.