At the UNLV graduation ceremony on Friday night, a touching surprise occurred when a military father who had been deployed in the Middle East since July, made an unexpected appearance to surprise his daughter.

KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas
KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas

The Set Up

Valarie Burke, assistant dean for graduate student services at UNLV, received an email from the father who wanted to be there for his daughter's graduation in May, despite being stationed overseas.

“I got an email that said ‘I have a daughter that’s going to be graduating in May and I'm overseas and I wanted to know if there was a way that I could surprise her,’” said Valarie Burke.

After months of meticulous planning, a covert operation was executed to make this father-daughter reunion a reality.

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The Graduation

Pamela Hernandez, the graduate, was elated and overcome with emotions upon seeing her father, Douglas Hernandez, after so long.

Pamela had missed many special occasions together with her father, due to his military obligations, so this moment held immense significance for both of them. The reunion was a heartwarming sight that was enjoyed by all.

The Big Surprise

“I had no idea what was going on. I thought he would be on a virtual screen. I did not know he would be in person,” Pamela said. "I'm just happy to be here. I'm happy to have my dad here and I'm happy to start a new chapter in life.”

UNLV officials said no one in the Hernandez family knew about the surprise visit besides Douglas Hernandez himself.

According to the school staff, the military father had missed his daughter’s previous graduation ceremonies and didn’t want to miss this one.

This surely was a beautiful moment that made many viewers shed tears.

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