Returning Hero Surprises Stepson at Liberty Middle School

After Eli Jorgens lost his father at a young age, John Carlson entered his life

FARGO, ND — Jon Carlson was one of those Happy Hooligans who returned home to Fargo.

He is a husband, a son and a father to four children, but not everyone knew about his return home.

Just a few years ago, Ashton and Eli lost the man they once called Dad.

“My dad died when I was back in second grade,” said Ashton Jorgens.

But now that void is being filled.

“I’m so happy we get to be a family together,” said Eli Jorgens.

John Carlson has been a role model and a support system to his two new stepsons.

“It’s kind of good to have a dad again,” said Ashton.

Not only is he seen as a hero in their young eyes, he also serves as a hero in the eyes of our country as a Happy Hooligan with the 119th Wing.

For the last six months, Jon has been on a mission in Southwest Asia.

“It was tough being away all that time but I knew that I have a lot of good friends and family that are here,” Jon said.

Jon just returned home and he’s anxious to see his wife, family and children.

“You know how much of a sacrifice it was me not being there me not being there with you guys,” said Jon.

“It’s not only a sacrifice for them but for their families as well,” said Kelly Carlson, Jon’s wife.

Jon’s oldest stepson was in school at the time and didn’t know his dad was coming back.

So Jon had one more surprise up his sleeve.

He couldn’t wait one more minute without seeing Ashton, so the family went to Liberty Middle School.

“He sent me a text message saying that he wasn’t going to be back until tomorrow and I’m like, oh okay I completely believed I didn’t think that he actually going to surprise me,” said Ashton.

“You never know what you’re going to expect and it was a nice feeling, it warmed my heart, to see him be like that. My heart was pounding standing back there waiting to come out and surprise him,” said Jon.

They may not be related by blood but Jon gets to fill that fatherly void for his two new sons.

“It means a lot I’m glad I’m going to have the opportunity to be a father to him and Eli,” said Jon.

Jon and his family went to one of their favorite restaurants to celebrate his homecoming.

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