Deployed Tennessee dad comes home early, surprises son

Deployed Tennessee dad comes home early, surprises son

LEBANON, TN (WSMV) - A Tennessee father gave his nine-year-old son, Luca, a surprise he’ll never forget.

Staff Sergeant Rob Cesternino had been serving with the Tennessee National Guard in Jordan and Southern Syria since May of 2018. Cesternino, a father of six, says he talked to his youngest, Luca, about every two weeks while he was deployed.

Cesternino and his wife arranged to surprise Luca at Taekwondo Monday night, coming home four days earlier than Luca expected. Luca's instructors told him he'd be sparing three instructors blindfolded. While he was sparing the final instructor, Cesternino jumped in. Luca continued having no idea he was actually punching his dad.

It wasn't until Cesternino called Luca by his childhood nickname that he recognized it was his dad, ripped his blindfold off, and jumped in his dad's arms.

"You were such a big boy when I was gone. I’m so proud of you," Cesternino told Luca. "We don’t give enough thought to how tough it is on the families we leave behind."

The father and son say they missed the simple moments the most and can’t wait to spend time together.

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