Soldier Surprise

Friday, August 12, 2011 - 8:17am

Ceremonial first pitch becomes a happy family reunion for military family.

We've seen several instances of soldiers coming home unannounced and surprising their families, usually at school with unsuspecting children. One army major back from Afghanistan went to great lengths to surprise his wife, and this one is a classic.

It seemed like any other night at Trustmark Park Friday. Jackson resident Darla Harlow and her two daughters were enjoying a night at the field after winning free tickets to see the Braves. Little did Darla know that she would be randomly selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.

She also didn't realize she would be in for the surprise like none other, because behind the plate to receive her first pitch was her husband, Major Michael Harlow, who just returned from deployment in Afghanistan. Darla had no clue. The two hadn't seen each other in over nine months until that moment on the field.

Major Michael Harlow says "I wanted to make sure she remembered what I look like. "I didn't through the mask.' "

Darla says "it took a couple of seconds, just shocked."

Michael Harlow just completed his mission in Afghanistan with the Mississippi Army National Guard's 184th Joint Sustainment Command. He and his two daughters Molly and Casey had been working on this plan for over two weeks. The idea of the surprise happening at a Braves game fit perfectly with the background between the two.

Major Michael Harlow says "the first time I ever saw her I was watching an Atlanta Braves game and we watched some of that and later we got married we were so poor we had to save up money to buy a dill pickle. But we came to a AA baseball game in Jackson."

It was a first pitch this couple will never forget.

Darla says "'Was that the best first pitch you've ever thrown?' Oh yeah, the best. The only and the best."

Michael will be home for about 10 weeks before he has to return to Afghanistan.

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