Being over 7,000 miles away didn’t stop one Coast father from being a part of his son’s high school graduation. With a little help from the Harrison County School District, Major Thomas Klerk was able to watch his son graduate.
As hundreds watched in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum at the soon-to-be graduates of D’Iberville High School, Senior Andy Klerk knew that someone not in the building was sure to be watching. “I could look up and see my mom, but then I couldn’t look up and see my dad, but I knew he was watching. It was trippy and weird.”
Andy’s father, Major Thomas Klerk is currently deployed in Kuwait and with some help from the Harrison County School District, he was able to watch Andy walk across that stage. Andy’s mom, Kelly Klerk, said, “He’s such a great dad. He’s done so much for the boys and it’s just really nice that he could actually be there and help him out with that. It’s nice.”
In a Facetime interview with News 25, an emotional Klerk noted that while it’s part of the job, it is still difficult to miss the milestones in his children’s lives. “You watch your kids grow up from their whole life and you know, we miss out on things and this just happens to be that year that that’s what I miss out on. It’s tough, it’s not the same.”
While it may not be the same, Klerk couldn’t be more thankful for the chance to be a part of his son’s graduation. “With technology today and live streaming becoming one of the main sources that families of deployed service members have to talk to each other and keep in touch, still stay a part of their lives, I mean ten years ago, I don’t think this happens. It would have been waiting on pictures to come in on email.”
Now, that Andy is a high school graduate, what’s next? How about a move to Michigan to become a Michigan State Spartan. “Very excited, excited for the cold weather, less humidity, new experiences, that’s going to be cool.”