Brooksville, Ky. (WKYT) - In the minutes before the Bracken County football team took to the field Friday night, few people noticed the team mascot was wearing combat boots.
Specialist Justin May was inside that polar bear costume, pacing the track. He was waiting to surprise his brother, Ryan, who plays on the team and his father, Ronald, a Bracken County assistant coach. His mother had set up the surprise.
"She called me one day and said 'Hey, would you like to show up at your brothers game?' and I thought it was a great idea," May said.
Justin has been gone eleven months, nine of those were spent in Afghanistan. His father knew he was back in America, but didn't know he was back in their hometown.
During the coin toss Justin was just feet from his brother and father. Once the toss was over an announcement was made recognizing Justin's service, but his father still didn't know he was there, until he took off the mascot's head and turned to him.
"He had no idea what was going on for a few seconds," May said. "It was amazing, they had no idea I was out here in that uniform."
His brother joined the hug, and did his best to wait until his helmet was back on before tearing up. His father got to focus on the game, knowing both his sons were safe and sound.
"It was crazy, just proud of him and glad to see him home safe," Ronald May said.