A military family is back together after an emotional reunion at the Topsail High School baseball game Tuesday night.
Kenneth Kampen is a Master Gunnery Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps. Since January, he's been deployed in Europe on duty. He was granted a three week leave to come home to Pender County to surprise his two children, Kenneth Jr. and Kendall. Both are students at Topsail High School.
The children both thought they were going to be recognized for being part of a military family before the team's playoff game against South Johnston High School. Organizers walked them out to the pitcher's mound to throw out a ceremonial first pitch; however, when they stepped on the field, they quickly realized this was more than just a baseball game.
"They have no idea I'm home, so it's going be a shock to both," their father Kenneth said.
As he walked onto the field, daughter Kendall ran into her father's arms, followed by Kenneth Jr. The family says they have kept in touch through email and Skype, but nothing compares to the real thing.
"It feels great," Kendall said. "I missed him."
Kenneth's wife, Cindy is happy too. She's been playing the role of both mom and dad while her husband has been away.
"We're just," she started, fighting back tears, "I'm glad he's home," Cindy said with tears rolling down her face.
When asked what he missed the most, Kenneth was quick to answer.
"This," he said with a tight lipped smile. "Family. I haven't had that for five months now, so this is nice."
Kampen will enjoy three weeks at home with family before heading back to Europe for service again. He said the best part about being home is being here long enough to see his son Kenneth Jr. graduate from high school in two weeks.
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