Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

March 12, 2013

Welcome Home

Cowgill returns from Jordan, surprises kids at school

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — There was plenty of excitement in the gym at Martin Elementary School Friday afternoon as a soldier surprised two of his children, came to their school and the family was reunited after his recent one year deployment to Jordan.

SSG Christopher Cowgill, who serves in the U.S. Army National Guard, returned home Friday and he and his wife, Scarlet, decided to surprise two of their children, Angelica, a kindergarten student, and Micaiah, a second-grader at Martin Elementary.

"Words can't describe how great it is to be back here, to see them, hug them and have my family all back together again," SSG Christopher Cowgill said.

Cowgill was in Jordan for more than a year for his third deployment overseas.

"We decided about a month ago after we found out he was coming home to surprise the kids at school. I knew if I told them about it they would be asking me everyday when he would be home, so we decided to do it this way," Scarlet Cowgill said.

"I played it over and over and over in my mind how this was going to go and it is just so great to be back here," Christopher said. "It almost doesn't feel real yet."

Micaiah's class and Angelica's classes gathered in the gymnasium and their teachers talked to them briefly about their chocolate bar sales and then announced they had a special guest who was there visiting them.

Both classes and the students at Martin have sent care packages to Cowgill while he has been deployed.

Cowgill then walked into the gym and Micaiah looked over, jumped up and ran into his father's arms. Angelica noticed her brother run past where she was sitting in the bleachers, got up and ran over to her daddy.

"I saw this man in a military suit come in and I looked at him and I knew it was my dad so I ran right over to him," Micaiah said.

As Christopher hugged his two children, tears flowed freely in the gymnasium.

Christopher said he has 42 days of leave and then he will have to go back to work.

"This weekend, though, we're just going to enjoy ourselves, go get some ice cream and just do whatever the kids want to do," Christopher said.

Cowgill was deployed in 2004-'05 to Northern Iraq, 2007-'08 for Operation Enduring Freedom and this past deployment was to Jordan for training the Jordanian Army.

"It's just good to be home," He said.

Although the two have spoken with each over computer video occasionally the past year, Scarlet said, "It's great to see him here and have him back home."

As the children filed out of the gym on their way back to their classrooms, they walked past the Cowgill family, greeted them and several shook Christopher's hand.