Teen has no clue her deployed mother is about to show up at her choir show

As the Hancock County Children’s choir wrapped up their 2018 holiday concert, they performed a song called “What Christmas Means to Me.’ It’s about spending the holidays with friends and family.

But one young singer was missing a loved one.

A sweet reunion

Little did 13-year-old Averie Hinton know, her mother was hiding backstage.

YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis Source: YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis

A U.S. Navy officer, Lt. Tawnee Hinton had been deployed in Djibouti, Africa for the last 14 months to assist with the Combined Joint Task Force working on counterterrorism missions. That’s a long time to go without seeing your family! (Especially when they’re in their formative years.)

Tears were about to flow as the choir’s artistic director Gale Roschi turned to the crowd announced a surprise.

YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis Source: YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis

“Avarie Hinton, I believe you have a present under the tree,” Roschi told her.

YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis Source: YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis

The teen’s hands immediately covered her face as she began to cry.

Out came her mother as the audience at Mt. Vernon High School cheered at the soldier standing next to the Christmas tree in her uniform.

She then announces:

“It’s with great joy to have a reunion tonight with a family that’s been apart for a whole year. We have someone who’s been serving in Africa…”

Home for the holidays

Avarie knew her mom would be home for Christmas but not for her concert. She had missed it the previous year. That’s why it was such a surprise for the teen to see her there.

YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis Source: YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis

Lt. Hinton also didn’t know if she would make it. In fact, The Greenfield Reporter said she got there just in time – her bags were still in the car.

After the tearful reunion, which brought tears to more than just the mother and daughter, the family went home and watched videos of the moment when the announcement was made.

YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis Source: YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis

“It was kind of surreal,” Lt. Hinton told the Reporter. “Of course (Avarie) was a typical teenager. She was afraid her makeup was running, so she turned away from the audience. I couldn’t have been happier how it worked out. I didn’t even notice the audience was standing up, I was so zoned in on her.”

YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis Source: YouTube Screenshot - WRTV Indianapolis

The Hintons’ service

The Hinton family resides in Franklin Township in Indiana. Tawnee and her husband Christopher – who is also an officer and who served side-by-side with his then-fiance after 9/11 – have 4 children: Christian, Avarie, Leyton, and Amelia.

The Southside Times Source: The Southside Times

The kids are used to one of their parents being deployed – it’s all they’ve ever known.

“They’ve never known anything other than us (dad and mom) being in the service,” Tawnee Hinton told The Southside Times.

But the 14-month deployment was a tough one.

“My baby went from a 3- to a 5-year-old in school. My daughter went from 12 to being a teenager. It’s hard,” she admitted.

The Southside Times Source: The Southside Times

No doubt her children will be more conscious of world affairs for having ambitious parents who aren’t afraid to take on challenging tasks.

“It was a different type of job working with embassies throughout Africa, training other military forces that were our allies and learning a new culture,” Hinton said of her time in Djibouti. “You had all these balls in the air as you’re trying to just do your job!”

But after her return, she got a chance to enjoy her family.

“We’re going to spend some time being a family now,” the liutenant told The Greenfield Reporter. “I’m so glad I won’t have to watch my kids open presents over Facetime this year.”

Be sure to scroll down to see the heartwarming moment for yourself.

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Source: Greenfield Reporter, YouTube – WRTV Indianapolis, The Southside Times

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