The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 4, 2014

6-year-old's gift is dad's return

STILLWATER (AP) — A 6-year-old Stillwater boy got a birthday gift he'll likely never forget.

Derek Kirby expected to celebrate his birthday without his dad who was serving in the Minnesota National Guard in Afghanistan. But, the return of the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company on Tuesday in Litchfield just happened to coincide with Derek's birthday. The only one who didn't know it was Derek.

When it came time to open gifts at his birthday party, Derek went for the big one first, tearing open the wrapping paper. And, there inside was the dad he hadn't seen in nearly a year. After a long hug, dad and son said they're looking forward to eating cereal and watching cartoons together.

WCCO-TV reports Spc. Gary Kirby met his other son for the first time. Four-month-old Arley was born during Kirby's deployment.

Information from: WCCO-TV, http://www.wcco.com

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