Kaitlyn Lemanek thought she was getting a Washington Capitals jersey as part of their Salute to the Troops promotion Wednesday, but she also got her dad back.
The 8-year-old was supposed to be standing in for Lt. Joe Lemanek, a Navy veteran who had been deployed in the Middle East, but instead he returned to surprise his daughter by returning home during the second period of their game against the New Jersey Devils.
Kaitlyn was moved to tears as the public address announcer rattled off the list of her father's deployments and accomplishments as a member of the Navy. Upon seeing her dad, who was holding a jersey with Kaitlyn and the No. 70, she sprinted to him and leaped into his arms, refusing to let go.
Joe was returning from his deployment with the USS Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group. He has has served in the Navy for 15 years and has served seven tours of duty in Afghanistan, the Western Pacific, Middle East and Northern Atlantic.
Lemanek has earned the Defense Meritorious Service medal, Joint Service Commendation medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals.