Local Airman surprises family, meets newborn daughter for first time after deployment

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — It was an emotional night for U.S. Airman Ben Akers, who returned from deployment to meet his newborn daughter for the first time Friday.

Akers, who was deployed in Africa for the past eight months, walked into a surprise party at Summit Waves in Lee’s Summit.

“It feels amazing. It was the weirdest thing. Never thought I’d miss somebody I’d never met, but the moment she was born, it’s been awesome,” Akers said of his newborn daughter, Madilyn.

As part of the surprise, the family was called to the front of the water park near the DJ booth to get a “prize.” That’s when Akers emerged from the building to greet them.

“I had no clue. It was just a wonderful surprise, and I’m so thankful,” said Ben’s mother, Vicki Akers.

Ben’s wife, Kirsten, said she’s overjoyed to have him home.

“It’s very, very surreal,” she said. “Been doing it by myself and glad to have him home.”

“She’s a rockstar,” Ben added.

So what’s next for the Akers family? It won’t be another long deployment. The Air Force veteran will be rejoining civilian life.

“I’m just ready to live this life of family, and be a family of four and adjust for real now.”

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