Vandeventer Middle School

Vandeventer Middle School Plans Surprise Reunion for Military Family

Oct 21, 2014

Soldier SurpriseSpc. Jared Crabtree’s children had no idea. When he ran onto the football field at Centennial High School on October 6, they ran straight into his arms.

Spc. Crabtree had been serving with the Army Reserve in Afghanistan since September 2013. He wasn’t scheduled to be home until Thanksgiving, but made a surprise return during a seventh grade football game between Vandeventer and Wester middle schools. Watch the video.

His wife Sandee had worked with staff members at Vandeventer to keep his return a secret.  

Vandeventer Coach Chris Oldham coordinated a “homecoming” for football players from Liberty and Centennial, who appeared at halftime alongside their seventh and eighth grade siblings from Vandeventer and Wester. This was to ensure Colton Crabtree, a freshman at Liberty, would be there alongside his brother Cooper, a seventh grader at Vandeventer, and neither would have any idea of the real reason for their presence on the field at halftime.

“We wanted to make it heartfelt for the family and something that they would never forget,” Oldham said.

Cheerleaders from both Vandeventer and Wester, as well as Vandeventer Principal Kristin Hebert and namesake Billy Thompson Vandeventer, were there with signs and balloons to thank Spc. Crabtree for his service and welcome him home.

Spc. Crabtree said it was an amazing feeling and acknowledged the sacrifice of his family during his time overseas.

“They have to live every day without their daddy, without their husband,” he said.  “They’re great patriots.”