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Military dad has emotional reunion with family at Florida Gators game

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for my kids."
/ Source: TODAY

Officer Kristian Denkins' family members ran into his arms after he surprised them on the field during a Florida Gators game Saturday night.

Denkins, from Gainesville, Florida, had just returned from his fifth tour of duty in Afghanistan, but this plan had been in the works since February, when he reached out to Coach McElwain of the Gators with his idea.

"I told my wife, but my kids had no idea and my parents are up in the stands and I had them take the kids to the game, so they had no idea," Denkins told a reporter in a video posted on YouTube Sunday.

He first came on the big screen and told his family how much he loved them and how badly he wished he could be with them.

"To my wife, my children, my mother and father, I miss you, I love you and I'll be home soon, I promise," Denkins said on the Jumbotron.

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Tears were streaming down his children's faces when they saw him up there, but the tears were in full force when they saw their dad running toward them on the field.

"It was very overwhelming," his son told the reporter. "I'm speechless and finally glad you're home."

Even during their emotional reunion, the Denkins family didn't stop showing pride for their hometown. Between embraces, they were doing the Gator chomp, which had the crowd going wild.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for my kids," Denkins said. "It was so wonderful."