Afghanistan to Duluth: An Airman's Trek to Surprise Daughter

Posted at: 02/08/2013 6:40 PM
Updated at: 02/08/2013 6:48 PM
By: Travis Dill

An airman with the 148th fighter wing returned home on Friday, but it was a surprise for his daughter when he picked her up from school.

Lt. Col. Glenn Slotness had a long, agonizing flight back from Afghanistan. He and his family have been waiting to be reunited for 8 months.

“It took me five days to get here. It was worth the prize,” Slotness said.

The prize was picking his daughter up from school, and she didn't know he was coming.

“I expected him Sunday. There's a little countdown in our kitchen of when he's going to come back, and it was like three days from now,” Danielle Slotness said.

Her tears of joy showed that the surprise worked, but the family had a tough time making it through the deployment.

“I guess I was so used to having him there, and then he suddenly wasn't. It w as really hard to go through,” Danielle said.

Phone calls were all they had while he was away.

“I miss seeing their faces. I almost forgot what they look like, except for the pictures on the wall. It was a little harder than I thought it was going to be,” Slotness said.

His wife Kari said it hit her twice as hard.

“You know it's my best friend too. You know it's not just my spouse, it's my best friend. When you've got both gone it's double duty,” Kari Slotness said.

The family was thousands of miles apart for the holidays, but they don't mind celebrating a few months late.

“We're going to have Thanksgiving dinner,” Kari said.

And that's a delicious way to be welcomed home.