Heartland sailor comes home early, surprises children

Heartland sailor comes home early, surprises children

MINER, MO (KFVS) - A heartland sailor comes home to surprise his children who were not expecting him until later this fall.

TJ Branum grew up in New Madrid and has been stationed in Japan for 230 days.

Branum's three children, ages 14, 12 and 7 did not think that their father would be coming home until November.

"As kids get older, deployments get harder," his wife Sierra Branum said.

"It's harder to leave em' because they understand more now" TJ said. "With not knowing when you're going to get back you don't have a date to shoot for, so it makes it a little tougher."

He surprised everyone though when he showed up at Lambert's in Miner, MO while his family was eating dinner.

Branum was in uniform and carrying a basket of rolls to throw.

No one was interested in the rolls though, as the children jumped to hug their father.

"I just went and gave my dad a hug,' his son Ian said.

"I didn't really think anything, all I thought was it was my dad I want to give him a hug, I miss him and everything!" his son Tiszon said.

Branum has served our country in the Navy for 16 years, and his family says it does not get any easier.

However, they couldn't be more proud.

Branum will be moving to another ship soon, and he will be stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.

Now, the family will spend the next 25 days together with fun fill activities, all prepared by his 6-year-old daughter Lilly.

"Camping, swimming, go to fun places, have fun!" his daughter Lilly said. "She has it all planned for it!"

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