When Transitional Kindergarten (TK) student Antonio Basaldu, 6, went on stage to receive an award at Santa Clarita Elementary School, he did not know that he also would be reunited with his uncle and godfather, a petty officer in the U.S. Navy.
“I didn’t expect this but his mom and dad told me he was getting an award so I thought I’d surprise him,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Cole Reasonover said.
After Basaldu received his school award for effort, Santa Clarita Elementary School Principal Theophane Korie kept the student on stage to give him “a special gift.”
“You are a wonderful scholar and always coming to school ready to learn,” Theophane said to Basaldu as he had him turn around so his back faced the audience. “You keep looking at me. You are going to get a very special gift.”
This special gift was Reasonover, who drove from Florida to California to make it in time for his nephew’s awards ceremony.
“I walked up there, I kneeled right behind him and he turned around. His eyes got all big and he said ‘oh’ and gave me a big hug,” Reasonover said. “It was really cute, he’s an adorable kid.”
During his four-year deployment, Basaldu would only see his uncle about one time per year while he was on the USS George H. W. Bush, a Nimitz-class supercarrier.
“I did not see him before because he was over in the Navy last time and he was staying there,” Basaldu said.
The reunion was even sweeter when Reasonover told his family that his return home would be a permanent one.
“It feels good,” he said. “I’m finally back home after being in the military for four years.”
Now that his uncle is home, Basaldu said he is excited to play games with his uncle like football and basketball.
“I love him 100,” Basaldu said. And he ended his sentence there.
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