HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — One family in Indianapolis got a present a little early this holiday season.
U.S. Navy Lt. Tawnee Hinton has been in Djibouti, Africa with the Combined Joint Task Force working on counterterrorism operations for the last 14 months.
While she was deployed, her four children, Amelia, 5; Leyton, 9; Avarie, 13, and Christian, 21, were only able to talk their mother over FaceTime or texting.
“Though the Navy has taken me away from my family on several occasions, and my husband was deployed numerous times before his retirement, this was a particularly lengthy deployment,” Hinton said.
One event Hinton didn’t miss this year was her daughter Avarie’s choir concert. Unknown to her children, Hinton was able to come home early and surprise them.
“I am thankful for technology and being able to stay in touch with FaceTime and texts, though it never takes the place of being there,” Hinton said. “I’ve watched school programs and swim meets over FaceTime as well as watched the blowing out of birthday candles and Christmas morning gift opening and Easter egg hunts to name a few.”
For Hinton, she says she is excited to be able to tell her kids in person how much she missed them and loves them.
“I can’t wait to just be a family again,” Hinton said.
Her husband, Chris, also served in the Navy for 31 years before retiring in 2015.
Tawnee Hinton has been in the Navy for 21 years and is a current member of the Navy Reserves.