Blue Hill father meets son for first time after return from deployment

More than 50 soldiers were welcomed back to the Cornhusker state after deployment in the Middle East, among them was a husband and father from Blue Hill.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - More than 50 soldiers were welcomed back to the Cornhusker state after deployment in the Middle East, among them was a husband and father from Blue Hill, who had a pretty special introduction to a new member of his family.

Sirens greeted 56 soldiers as they made their way to the Nebraska Army National Guard office in Kearney. Among those soldiers was Sergeant First Class Phillip Runyan II reuniting with his wife and kids, but one of those kids Runyan met for the first time when he stepped off the bus.

Phillip left Nebraska for his deployment in September of 2021, and his youngest Bridger was born in late October. Phillip wasn’t able to be in the room when his wife gave birth, but through the power of technology he watched and gave his wife, Rachel, support in the delivery room.

For Phillip, no technology could match the feeling of holding his son for the first time.

“It’s kinda surreal knowing he’s around, getting to see him on the video,” SFC. Phillip Runyan II said. “Technology has been awesome so we have been able to see a little bit of that, get to talk to him on the phone with video, but holding him is something completely different.”

Rachel Runyan summed up her feelings on the day in under 10 words.

“Excited, emotional, overflowing of happiness that they are returning,” Rachel Runyan said.

Runyan’s daughter, Angel, told Local4 News having a father in the service can be a double-edged sword.

“I get the pride of being able to say that my dad is in the national guard, but it can also be difficult when he’s gone for training, or even now that he’s been deployed, but it’s always worth it,” Angel Runyan said.

The whole Runyan family plans on taking time to catch up with their dad, including a camping trip and fishing.

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