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Army dad surprises kids as catcher at baseball game

Posted at 2:37 PM, Jul 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-26 14:39:43-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KXTL) -- A brother and sister picked to throw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game were surprised to see who was behind home plate.

Their Army soldier father, who just returned from yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, surprised his two children Tuesday by gearing up as the catcher.

"I saw their apprehension when they were walking out to the mound. And was like a little skeptical about going out behind them," Sergeant First Class Jim Hereth said.

While 13-year-old Summer Hereth seemed to recognize her dad right away, it took a minute for 10-year-old Devin to realize it was really their father.

"My sister hit me, ‘Devin it's him,’ and… I felt like I was running. I didn't know if I was dreaming," said Devin.

This reunion was something  Hereth had dreamed of for a long time, but was able to pull together with just one phone call to the River Cats just last week.

Hereth’s own father served in Vietnam, but it was not until he left his two kids behind that the weight of such a sacrifice hit him. And with his Shinook unit in the Army National Guard rushing into harm's way, Hereth said he is grateful to be home with his family.

"It's haphazard. Anyone can see the end at any time,” Hereth said. “You lose good soldiers, good family members and good dads everything."

The family is planning to do everything they have been dreaming about all year.

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