Soldier Makes Epic Return, Shocks Family Before KSU Softball Game

KENNESAW, GA — A metro Atlanta-based soldier gave his family the surprise of a lifetime on Friday with the help of Kennesaw State University. First Lt. Charles Witkowski of the U.S. Army had been stationed in Afghanistan for months but was allowed to come home a little ahead of schedule. That’s when he decided to surprise his family.

“(I) thought it would be a good idea to surprise my sister on her one game she was able to come down to Atlanta and play,” Witkowski said in a KSU Twitter video. Witkowski’s sister, Lydia, plays on Hofstra’s softball team and was scheduled to take on the Owls at KSU’s stadium.

As the players took the field, the game’s PA announcer said, “At this time, the Owls are proud to honor the sacrifices made by the entire Witkowski family by asking Lydia’s brother to surprise and join his family in the circle for today’s national anthem.”

That’s when Witkowski ran out onto the field and hugged his family.

Witkowski is stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, just finished an 8-month deployment to Afghanistan where he works as a UH-60 Mike Blackhawk pilot for the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade.

Witkowski’s wife Michelle is a KSU alum. They are the parents of an 8-month old girl.

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The Owls and Hofstra went on to split a doubleheader.

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