MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Taylor and Shelby Moll proudly walked into the Central Fellowship Christian Academy's gym, adorned in their caps and gowns Friday; an almost perfect night, but with one very important thing lacking: Their father.
Major Jason Moll is a US Airman deployed in Afghanistan for the last year; he couldn't be there in that gym with them--couldn't be there to see his 4th ranked senior son Taylor read a scripture, or his Salutatorian daughter give her speech and win the Christian Athlete award....
...couldn't be there in the actual gym...
No, he was actually hiding in an adjacent hallway, watching the ceremony via Skype, and waiting--Waiting for the perfect moment.
"This was kind of like the capstone, I didn't want to miss this," says Moll. "I missed homecoming queen I missed last soccer matches, I missed everything else, I didn't want to miss this."
This huge surprise has been ten months in the making. Moll has missed lots of "lasts" this year.
"I've been planning this since I got to Afghanistan," he says. "We were trying to schedule my R&R to surprise them for something like this."
It's easy to see he loves his kids.
"I love being with them, I love the adults that they're turning into, I love the Godly examples they set for their peers," Moll told 41NBC.
As Shelby made her way across the stage (probably wishing her dad was there to share the moment)-- the big moment came. Major Moll appeared from behind a black curtain backstage. It took a minute for her realize what was happening. She looked around when she heard the gasps of the crowd, and when she realized who was standing at the bottom of the stage steps, the tears began to flow.
She shared a long embrace with her father. Her brother, Taylor, who was standing behind her in line, waited patiently at the bottom of the steps on the opposite side of the stage, tears also streaming down his face. Tears of joy.
Shock, smiles, tears...the perfect recipe for an unforgettable graduation...
They had no clue he was going to be there.
"We Skyped with him yesterday!," Taylor said, trying to figure out if he was even still in Afghanistan when they did it. Moll arrived back in Georgia late Thursday night.
Another major surprise: Moll's service in Afghanistan is over. He's home for good. Shelby's headed to Charleston Southern University in the fall, and Taylor is headed to Cedarville University in Ohio.