Lebanon soldier returns home, surprises son in heartwarming way

News

A Lebanon soldier came home from active duty early and surprised his son in a unique way.  

SSG Rob Cesternino returned home Monday after his deployment with the National Guard but his son Luca didn’t expect him home till next week.  

Then a plan was hatched to welcome Cesternino home and surprise Luca in a special way at his martial arts class.  

Nine-year-old Luca was blindfolded while sparring with his instructor, then his dad stepped in. 

Once Luca heard his father’s voice, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  

Cesternino was awarded an honorary black belt and Luca was given an honorary belt for bravery.  

“He had to shoulder everything while I was gone, he had to do it all with the help of an amazing, amazing community,” said Cesternino.  

During his deployment, Cesternino participated in Operation Enduring Freedom – Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve, the United States Military operation to defeat ISIS. 

He was a City Council member in Lebanon prior to his deployment.  

The town of Lebanon placed yellow ribbons and bows along the town square and surrounding area to help welcome Cesternino home and Success Martial Arts Center had its windows custom painted as a tribute.  

Thank you for your service, sir!  

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