EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – it was a face Pebble Hills High School student Demetrio de la Rosa was not expecting to see amongst the crowd at his graduation on Friday.
But when he did, the reaction was priceless.
After eight months in the Middle East, his father, Sgt. Martin de la Rosa, had a new mission: Operation graduation.
“I have a lot of emotions,” Demetrio said. “I was so happy when I saw my dad. I haven’t seen him in a long time.”
Martin traveled 32 hours to watch his son walk across the stage.
“Coming into being a young adult, this is literally it, sink or swim, and I want to be here for him to let him know…you’re not going to sink, I’ll be here for you no matter what,” he said.
He says he couldn’t miss this special day after having been gone for most of his son’s senior year.
“I’m just very proud of the young man he’s becoming…super proud,” Martin said.
Demetrio says seeing his father was the best surprise he could’ve asked for.
“It means a lot to me because I really did think he was going to miss this and he was just going to have to see it through a video,” he said, “but it ‘s a big difference of him being here.”
Martin said he’ll be in El Paso for the next three weeks before he returns to the Middle East, so he’s making every moment count.