Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Love, from Afghanistan; Stationed in a War Zone, a Dad Joins School Award Ceremony for His Surprised Son, Courtesy of Today's Technology

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Love, from Afghanistan; Stationed in a War Zone, a Dad Joins School Award Ceremony for His Surprised Son, Courtesy of Today's Technology

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK | When Sterling Elementary School named its Golden Rule Award winners Friday, the gym bleachers were crowded with proud parents and grandparents.

As second-grader Griffin Moore accepted his classroom award and then the school award, his father, Army Spc. Chan Moore, watched via Skype from a base somewhere in Afghanistan. Griffin didn't even know his father was watching until he was called up for the big award and was told to turn around for a special guest. That's when his father's image was projected on the gym wall.

Griffin looked sort of deadpan at first, whispered a hello to his father and then squinted into a grin.

His mother, Gayle Moore, and his sister, Reece, a student from Jane Macon Middle School across the road, came to the front to tell Spc. Moore they loved and missed him.

It was supposed to have been a surprise for Gayle Moore, too, but her husband "spilt the beans,'' as she put it. Knowing what was coming, she already had a soaked tissue balled up in her hand. She and Reece were still wiping tears as they joined Griffin at the front.

It had a low-key game show feel as Principal Kelly Howe handed Griffin his Golden Rule T-shirt and gave him a gift certificate that goes with the win.

After exchanging greetings with his family, including telling Griffin he was proud of him, his father said goodbye to get back to work. It was mid-afternoon in Afghanistan.

After the assembly, Reece said, "It was cool,'' as she still cried a little.

"I miss him,'' she said.

As for Griffin, he couldn't do much more than nod and shrug because of a cold that took his voice.

He managed to say that seeing his father was, "Great."

Her husband deployed in September with the 82nd Airborne and they talk once a week and "email constantly,'' Gayle Griffin said.

It's not always so emotional, she said, but this will be the first Christmas her husband has not been with his family. …

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