Airman returns home, surprises son at favorite place

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O'FALLON, IL (KPLR)-- The hardware store usually has everything you need to build and repair things. But Friday it was the place for a surprise reunion.

“It's always been our guy time together,” says USAF Lt. Col. Barry King. “He loves coming here.  We can spend hours walking up and down the aisles and hours in Lowes.  It's our happy place.”

The O'Fallon Lowes is where Lt. Col. King and his four year old son like to spend time. But for the past year, that's not been possible as King was deployed with his unit in Afghanistan.

Friday however, King's wife, Karin, brought little Justin up to the store for an unexpected surprise.

“Hey buddy,” exclaims King hugging his son.  “Oh, I love you buddy.”

This is the first time Justin has seen his dad in a long time. The Air Force pilot has spent the past four years on and off, away from home. But this time he's here to stay.

“For good,” says wife Karin King.  “For good. Not just R and R, for good.  How does that feel?  Really good.”

“Was it a good surprise?” asks King.

“Are you coming home?” asks son Justin.

“Yes buddy I'm home,” says King.  “I'm home.”

“Now we get to build stuff every day,” says a smiling Justin.

“That's right, we can every day,” adds King.

King will undergo training on the new C-130J transport aircraft . The whole family will be moving to Germany later this year where, chances are, they'll find another hardware store where they can spend some father son bonding time.

“What a feeling you know,” says Lowe's HR manager Graylin Smith.  “It's that happy place where you learn to partner with people and learn to be patient and learn to build things.”

Build, repair, and reunite.

“Was that good?” asks King.

“Coming for a landing,” says Justin landing a model plane on his Dad's shoulders.

“Coming for a landing,” says the beaming King.