Military dad surprises family at homecoming game


Teodor Medina embraces his family for the first time in eight months. Medina had been stationed in Afghanistan previously to this.

Sydney Czyzon, Views Editor

On the day of homecoming, September 21, Joliet West students Naesha Arroyo and Alysha Vazquez experienced the shock of a lifetime when they received a surprise visit from their father, Teodor Medina, who had been deployed in the U.S. Navy Construction Battalion in Afghanistan for eight long months. Since then, they have fortunately learned that their dad will most likely be staying home for a while.

When Medina’s wife, Idanis, his daughters Alysha Vazquez, Naesha Arroyo, Gianina Medina, and his son, Joshua Medina, saw him for the first time, they were completely overcome with shock and bliss. The two youngest, Gianina and Joshua, led the group and ran over with shrieks of excitement. For a few minutes, the family reunited with hugs, tears, and smiles.

Sophomore Naesha Arroyo admitted, “When I saw my dad for the first time, I was in disbelief. It felt like a dream, but I was so happy.” Her sister, Alysha, senior, revealed to the Herald News, “I know I had water all over my face. Hands down, this is one of the greatest moments of my life.” The moment was surreal for all, and emotions ran high in the stands and on the field.

Soon after, everybody began singing happy birthday to commemorate the birthdays that Ted Medina had missed: Alysha’s 8 months ago, Naesha’s 7 months ago, Joshua’s 7 months ago, Gianina’s 3 months ago, and his wife’s recently. Naesha expressed her gratitude for the moment, saying, “At that moment I was feeling an overwhelming happiness. I also felt special. It was as if our birthdays never went unnoticed.”

For now, the Medina family is warmly welcoming their dad back into their everyday lives and looking forward to the future. Humor is said to be one of Ted’s best qualities, and his family is surely enjoying and embracing his funny personality once again. Now that he is back, his kids are thankful to have their dad to help them and provide advice regarding school, their social lives, and activities or sports.

Having a family member in the military is definitely a tough obstacle to endure. However, the entire family has been supportive of their loved one and put aside their fears in order to embrace the best of the situation.