Posted: Jul 17, 2013 10:41 AM by Richie Melby - MTN Sports
Updated: Jul 17, 2013 10:53 AM
GREAT FALLS - It's always an emotional moment when our military members return home from overseas - straight into the arms of loved ones they haven't seen in months - maybe years. When the family members aren't expecting that breathtaking moment, it's even better.
Ed McNamee returned to Great Falls from a months-long military deployment at around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday but had to finish his military duties before he could see his three children - Stevie, Cameron and Avery. Being a ball coach, what better place than the baseball diamond for an emotional and overdue reunion?
"Baseball is our family game. We've been around it for so many years that it's kind of nice to do it here," McNamee said.
His son, Cameron, was selected to throw out the first pitch and little did Cameron know, it was his father behind the catcher's mask.
As soon as the fastball slid through the strike zone - the climactic family gathering was on.
"We pulled it off. It was one of those things where I thought we got busted. I thought he figured it out but after he threw the pitch and I stood up and he started crying, I thought 'Holy cow, he has no idea,'" McNamee said.
"At first I was going to say ‘thank you' because he said it was a nice throw, but I looked at him again and I saw that it was him. I missed him so much, because when he left it was on Christmas," Cameron said.
Cameron, Stevie and Avery were all tears for the return of their father, but they weren't the only ones treated to a surprise; Cameron's hair had gotten a bit "larger" during Ed's deployment.
"That Afro haircut, did you see that? That was awesome. He didn't cut his hair since I had been gone. His non-verbal protest was that he wasn't going to cut his hair while I was gone, so he says he is going to get his haircut tomorrow," McNamee said.
For the next few weeks, Ed McNamee the coach will play the role of Ed McNamee the father. First up is golf all week long with his son and daughters where, despite returning from the Middle East, he's already expecting a bright new sunburn.
"It will be a good sunburn though. I'll be able to wear shorts and sandals and things like that. I won't have to worry about a helmet and things like that so it will be fun," he laughed.