LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For nearly a year, a Huntington man has been dedicating his life to his country in Afghanistan as a specialist for the U.S. Army Calvary Scouts.
But on Saturday, Briar Grimes got to see his dad for the very first time since he left last July. With the help from Lufkin's Chili's, the nervous, yet, excited soldier waited to surprised his dad who popped in for an unexpected meal with his family, never knowing his son was waiting back in the kitchen.
Armed with bright, yellow balloons the staff at Chili's prepared for the surprise, and a racing heart, Briar said he was mostly nervous to see his dad.
"He's going to be shocked," said Briar Grimes.
But when he went up to the table, and saw his dad for the first time, all that nervousness melted away. His dad, Troy Grimes, was absolutely shocked to see his son standing next to him, and tearfully embraced him saying "I'm glad you're home."
It was an emotional reunion for the father and son, especially since Briar had to keep it a secret for nearly a week.
"I haven't been answering his messages because I didn't want him to know that I was home. So, I've just been ignoring his messages," said Briar Grimes.
But in the end, it paid off, as Troy Grimes says he just can't believe his son is finally home.
"It's really great. I never know when they were coming home and didn't know what to expect or didn't know when he would show up or how it would be, I'm grateful he's home," said Troy Grimes.
The 22-year-old said his wife Charise and his step-mom came up with the idea to meet up at Chili's, and everyone was in on the secret, except his dad.
"I thought it was a good idea, it would be better than just going and seeing him at home," said Briar Grimes.
"I'd seen some things on Facebook that they might be coming home and stuff like that so I just kind of thought they were just in no position to be messaging or getting any service to where they would contact people," said Troy Grimes.
But, Briar was home, and has been home since Tuesday waiting for this day to finally come. The young father says it's absolutely wonderful to be back home and appreciates all the support he has from his family.
"It's nice to know that people really appreciate what you do. They see you in uniform and they understand what's under it. They really appreciate it, because it's hard when you're over there because you don't really know that people are thinking about you and it's good to know they appreciate what you're doing," said Briar Grimes. "It's one of the best rewards you can do, is go to serve your country."
Grimes is stationed in Fort Hood so he says it's nice because he's only three hours away from his parents and grandparents.