Veterans, representing all branches of the armed forces — except Space Force — stretched across the stage, seated four rows deep, at the Montoursville Area High School auditorium on this dreamy Veterans Day.
Even the rain outside could not dampen the buzz of excitement in the audience of students from the Lyter and Loyalsock Valley elementary schools who had come, dressed in red, white and blue, ready to honor and thank their family members who had served in the military .
For two students the day was extra special when they were surprised by family members — one on active duty in the Navy and one retired from the Army and serving as a Department of Defense contractor — that they had not seen for some time.
Staff Sergeant Bob Donmoyer, who retired from the Army in 2019 after 26 years, and his wife Tracy, drove 800 miles to surprise their grandson, Everett Foster.
Right now, Donmoyer is working at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, teaching soldiers tactical radios and communication as a civilian contractor. He and his wife got the idea to surprise Everett when Tracy had been visiting here when the elementary student came home with the announcement about the special Veterans Day program.
“He said that I wish Pappy could be here,” Tracy Donmoyer said Everett told her. When she shared this with her husband, who had been working at the time, they decided to get his uniform and travel to Montoursville for the program.
Prior to the surprise reunion, Donmoyer got a little teary-eyed talking about the why it’s important for the kids to understand what the veterans in their lives have done for them
“I think it’s just important to remind kids why we have today,” he said, referring to Veterans Day.
Standing in a room at the school filled with veterans, Donmoyer said that he always felt the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers during his years of service.
“You were serving with your brother and sister,” he said.
When the time came for the reunion, Everett was very surprised to see his grandfather, who he usually sees only two to three times a year, standing in the hallway at the school.
Third-grader Logan Dodson was also surprised to see his sister, US Navy Logistics Specialist Addison Dodson, a 2020 graduate of Montoursville Area High School, standing in the halls of her alma mater.
Addison Dodson traveled from Virginia, where she is stationed, to surprise her little brother. They were also joined by another brother, Tyler Dodson, who is a student at the high school.
She admitted that she really is enjoying her time in the Navy and that she is “learning a lot.”
Although she won’t be assigned to sea duty for two years, Addison said that she is excited about being on a ship and seeing what opportunities she has there.
Logan Dodson said that he was surprised to see his sister, who he hadn’t seen for a few months, because she had told him that she couldn’t come.
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