FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Alex Anderson had no idea the gift he'd receive this graduation would mean so much. He hasn't seen his dad, SFC William Dubnansky since January, but little did he know he'd be home to surprise him.
Inside the Crown Coliseum holding area, the Grays Creek High School graduates were picking up their caps and gowns in preparation for the big ceremony.
The principal gave remarks and asked the students to be seated before lining up for the ceremony. She called Anderson's name to walk to the front of the group.
"I thought I was in trouble there for a second there," said Anderson, who stood facing toward the group of students.
SFC Dubnansky surprised his son by embracing him with love.
"My dad's not an emotional guy. To see him tearing up a little is really good to see. Makes me really happy. Love you dad," he said. "It's a huge moment. Something I want to share with my dad. I know for him it's a big deal. I worked hard to try to get my cords, NHS stuff, honors and stuff. So happy to share all that with him."
This marks SFC Dubnansky's ninth deployment. His daughter Isabel displayed its effect on the military child.
"We've struggled a lot with him being gone on deployments. It was really nice to see his face," said Isabel Anderson.
Hearing those words were tough for the Fort Bragg soldier.
"I've missed a few events of the kids' lives. It's always been for a great cause, but being home for this meant the world," said Dubnansky.
On Monday, Mrs. Dubnansky noticed her son was down.
"He was like I really wish dad could be here. I understand why he can't be here. It took everything in me to contain myself," she said.
Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly presented SFC Dubnansky with the challenge coin which is given out to those who do things that align with the district's mission.
This graduate received the greatest gift this graduation.
"I was just happy to graduate, move on to the next phase of life and have everyone support me, but to have him here is the best gift," said Anderson.