Father, soldier surprises daughter after year-long deployment in Ukraine

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – For the past year, R.C. San Gil has been stationed in Ukraine, helping train forces there, temporarily leaving his daughter, Rhian, behind, only to come back in a surprise. 

After taking a plane to Smyrna, San Gil then took a bus to Knoxville – getting into town the night before Sacred Heart’s special awards ceremony to highlight courage and service. 

Sixth-grader Rhian San Gil had no idea her father came home from Ukraine… let alone that he was anxiously waiting behind a curtain in the gymnasium where Sacred Heart Cathedral School held its assembly.

Smiles, applause, and tears of joy quickly filled the room as the pair embraced each other for the first time in a year. 

“I’ve been on multiple deployments and it was kind of funny for me to sit right behind this curtain, my heart was probably beating more than most of the times I was over there,” San Gil said. “Happy to be home, glad to be back.” 

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