Fairmont soldier’s surprise return brings his family to tears

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – After 11 long months, Kenneth Stahl returned home and surprised his family members on Saturday morning.

The Fairmont Police Department assisted with the surprise by having the Stahl family believe they were being pulled over, but the surprise was nothing they could have guessed.

“I thought it was a speeding ticket, but when the cop came up to the door he says, ‘we smell something from your car or something like that,'” said Nancy Stahl Kenneth’s Mother. “‘We’re going to need you guys to get out he said,’ and I was like ‘what was going on?’ Next thing I knew I saw Kenneth and I just flew to him.”

Kenneth is one of a few soldiers who was able to come home from deployment. This was possible thanks to his acceptance to attend school at Fairmont State University in the fall 2020.

Kenneth previously went to North Marion High School. Following graduation, he originally went to Glenville State for football, but decided it was time to give up on that dream and follow his dream of joining the National Guard.

Kenneth loved his time overseas and now he said he is ready to take on the next chapter of his life, chasing a college degree.

“While I was over there I had a lot of time to think, and I thought education would be the great opportunity,” said Kenneth. “I’m trying to spend a lot of time with my family right now. You have family back when your deployed and stuff. Soldiers are your family, you just always have to remember that you have family back here too that cares as much as they do.”

Nancy said no amount of preparation could get a family ready for how difficult this journey was. She said now that she has her son back, her family feels whole again.

“I would be really upset and cry, all the time. It was very sad and upsetting, but I knew he was doing something for our country, so, it was well worth it,” said Nancy. “It’s just I missed him a lot. I missed him a lot. Now he’s home and it’s very exciting, and I’m so happy he got home safe.”

Kenneth said he cannot wait to be a falcon and stay close to home for a little while longer. He plans to follow a path in physical education and eventually join the ROTC program at WVU.

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