Reunions
Blindfolded boy doesn’t know instructor he’s sparring with is “deployed” dad
Staff Sergeant Rob Cesternino's deployment wasn't easy for his six children. Especially for his youngest, 9-year-old Luca Cesternino.
Jaclyn Abergas
05.06.22

It is always such a hard time when military families are separated because of deployment.

It’s especially hard on young children.

They still have difficulty processing and understanding the situation.

“Young children don’t understand deployment and are more likely to struggle with the changes in family dynamics. They may need frequent reassurance that they are loved, will be safe, and did not do anything to cause the parent’s departure,” Psychotherapist and Editor-in-Chief of Very Well Family, Amy Lorin, explained.

YouTube - NBC News
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YouTube - NBC News

They may feel empty, abandoned, or both.

Staff Sergeant Rob Cesternino’s deployment was very stressful for his six children but especially for his youngest son, 9-year-old Luca Cesternino.

It’s a good thing they were able to encourage him to take up a sport that will help release all those emotions and energy into a productive activity.

These taekwondo lessons helped increase his confidence as well.

YouTube - NBC News
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YouTube - NBC News

Sgt. Cesterino uses taekwondo lessons to his advantage.

It’s these taekwondo lessons that Staff Sgt. Cesternino used to surprise his son when he arrived back home after a 10-month deployment.

Staff Sgt. Cesternino works for the Tennessee National Guard and he had been deployed in Syria and Jordan for 10 months.

Even though they’ve kept in touch via video or phone calls regularly, it’s just not the same as being physically together.

That’s why he was so excited to surprise his son and his family.

YouTube - NBC News
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YouTube - NBC News

Cesterino teams up with taekwondo instructor

Luca’s instructor told him there’s a special activity to “strengthen his reaction times and instinctive reflexes.”

And to really make sure the activity goes well, Luca needs to be blindfolded.

Of course, the blindfold isn’t needed but he can’t set eyes on his sparring partners because it’ll ruin the surprise, of course.

Luca fought well against the first two sparring partners but he was curious about the third one.

The third sparring partner kept calling him a nickname that only one person ever called him.

YouTube - NBC News
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YouTube - NBC News

Could it be?

Could it be his dad? Luca stopped and called out, “Daddy?” He took off his gloves and his blindfold.

And when he looked up, he saw his dad right in front of him!

He jumped and hugged his dad tight. That’s 10 months’ worth of hugs!

YouTube - NBC News
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YouTube - NBC News

Not a dry eye to be had

“Touching, memorable and I am still crying! Sargent, we are so proud of you! Thank you..!” Cecilie Noble said.

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YouTube - NBC News

“The wide-eyed look of incredulity before he goes in for the embrace…my heart is a puddle of melted butter,” Tami Vanderwilt shared.

“this is the most beautiful video I have ever seen , my eyes are leaking big time,” alan williams agreed.

Staff Sgt. Cesternino was awarded an early release and he wanted to surprise his youngest son to cheer him up.

YouTube - NBC News
Source:
YouTube - NBC News

See Sgt. Cesterino’s heartwarming reunion with his boy in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jaclyn Abergas
hi@sbly.com
Jaclyn Abergas is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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