The students at a Catholic school in Missouri were already feeling excited and rowdy when they took their seats at their annual teacher vs.
They surrounded the court, chanting and cheering, anticipating the big event. Like every year, the eighth graders were ready to take on their teachers inside the gymnasium.
Just as the game was set to begin, the teachers brought in a “ringer,” at the last minute, and the kids never saw it coming.
Lieutenant Commander Thomas Koehler has been called to active duty in the past, but he’d never been deployed overseas since having his two children.
In March 2019, Thomas was deployed to Africa with the U.S. Navy Reserve. Not only did he have to leave his wife and kids behind for the first time, but there was another important group of children who missed him desperately.