LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - KCBD would like to honor U.S. Army Specialist Jason Rumbaugh as this week's "Hometown Hero."
In May of 2007, Jason enlisted in the Army. Just a junior at Hale Center High School, Jason did his basic training the summer before his senior year. After graduating in 2009, he was sent to Afghanistan for a year for his first deployment.
"I've always wanted to join the service from the time I was really young," Jason said. "I figured I could go do my part."
While overseas, Jason works on a base in Afghanistan as a Black Hawk mechanic making sure that the helicopters are working properly and safely.
He is currently on his second deployment to Afghanistan; but just last week, Jason was able to return to the South Plains to be reunited with his family for two weeks.
His wife Meagan Rumbaugh waited anxiously at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport; the last time she saw Jason was almost a year ago. After waiting… and waiting… she spotted Jason and the two held each other, barely saying a word. The hugging quickly ended as the two rushed out of the airport and to a restaurant in Plainview.
Jason's three children had no idea their father was on his way. Javan, 5, Ashlin, 3, and Kyleigh, who is about to turn one sat watching a slide show of pictures of them and their father. As Jason hid behind the door, a familiar voice was heard over the TV, "Turn around, kids."
Much to their surprise their father, their hero, walked through the door. The kids ran and jumped on Jason, hugging him in disbelief.
"That was amazing. We didn't want the kids to know about him coming, and so we've been hiding it for a while. Just getting to see their faces was the best part," Meagan said.
"It was good. I was really excited to see them," Jason said. "They were shocked to see me, and the little one is warming up to me more."
As Jason takes it all in, embracing his family… he knows he will soon be back on a plane to Afghanistan to finish out his deployment. He will once again have to leave behind his family to fight for our country, making him a hometown hero to his family and those around him.