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Misti Chastain returns from deployment in Afghanistan just in time to see son’s football game
Misti Chastain surprises her oldest son, Michael Seyl, prior to the start of the Crook County JV football game on Thursday. Chastain, who had been deployed in Afghanistan for the past 14 months, arrived home earlier than expected, and with the help of the CCHS football coaching staff was able to meet Michael on the field and participate in the coin flip prior to the start of the game.
October 15, 2012
By the time Thursday’s JV football game between Crook County and Ridgeview started, their wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“This is the coolest thing I have been a part of,” said Crook County JV?coach Ernie Brooks on his Facebook account.
Captains from both teams marched to the center of the field prior to the start of the game to the announcement that a special guest would have the honor of doing the coin toss. When Crook County captain Michael Seyl turned around to see who the special guest was, he was surprised to see his mother, Sergeant First Class Misti Chastain, standing behind him in combat fatigues.
Chastain had been deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan, for the past 14 months. Although, Seyl knew that his mother had returned to the United States, he did not know when she would make it back to Prineville.
The surprise reunion was cooked up on Facebook by Chastain and Brooks.
“Last night, I contacted the coach to let him know that I would be showing up this evening because I just got a ticket home,” Chastain said. “I told him not to be surprised if Michael runs off the field when he sees me. At that point, Brooks and all the rest of the coaches set up this little thing to have me go out there on the field and do the coin toss.”
Chastain and Seyl embraced on the field with Seyl briefly removing his helmet. The embrace ended when Seyl said, “Sorry mom, I’ve got to go, we have a game to play.”
Chastain flipped the coin to start the game and then calmly walked off the field.
“It was amazing,” Chastain said later of the reunion. “I hadn’t seen my son in 14 months and I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to see any of his games this year. My son was real disappointed that I wasn’t going to get to see this football game, but I got a call late last night while I was in Fort Bliss, Texas that they got me a ticket. I started getting ready around 3 a.m. this morning and that’s how I ended up here.
Chastain, who was in the army for eight years, switched to the National Guard in 2003 and has now served 17 years in the military.
She was a military police platoon sergeant in Afghanistan with a mobile patrol.
”We ran three different missions and we were out patrolling pretty much every day,” she said. “We ran a quick reactionary force, a police advisory team, and logtech mission, so we were out daily.”
Chastain, who is part of the 1186 infantry company, which is stationed in Salem, does not know if she will be deployed again. She will still need to go to Salem three more times as part of the yellow ribbon events that are intended to help returning soldiers return to civilian life. However, other than the three days required for that, she is back in Prineville for the forseeable future.
“I’m just happy to be home,” she said before settling into the grandstands to watch the game.
As the game began, Chastain sat proudly in the stands watching her son play ball. Midway through the first quarter, he broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run and Chastain clapped excitedly with a huge smile on her face.
It wasn’t long before Chastain was down near the field. First she took a picture of her son along the sideline, then she paced nervously as she waited for her second son, Dustin, to get to the stadium.
Dustin Seyl is on Crook County’s cross country team and had practice until 5:30 p.m. Like Michael, he was unaware that Chastain had already returned to Prineville, and like Michael, he embraced his mother enthusiastically when he realized that she was in the crowd.
“It was a really big surprise,” Dustin said. “I’m really excited that she’s home and I hope that she stays home for a long time.”
Chastain and Dustin Seyl watched the second half of the game from the stands as the two talked privately.
However, midway through the fourth period, Chastain came quickly out of the stands when Michael took a hard hit along the Crook County sidelines.
Seyl turned out to be fine, and Chastain returned to the stands.
With the Cowboys leading 38-0, Michael finally left the game for good late in the fourth quarter.
“It was pretty amazing to see mom before the game,” he said. “It’s the first one she’s seen me do in a while.”
The Seyl boys have moved around recently because of military life. The boys lived with their dad, Eric Seyl, in McKinney, Texas until just before the start of school this year.
However, Eric, who is also in the military, has now been deployed to Afghanistan as well.
“I’m glad that mom got back safe,” Michael said. “It was really hard while she was gone. I think it’s really great that she got here. But we are a military family. Dad is deployed now too, and will be over there for about another year. It’s pretty hard on a family. We just hope that dad will get home safe too.”