MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach Fire recruits Ivan and Jasmin Chavez expected a regular promotion ceremony, Wednesday night, but it wound up being so much more.
A special guest came out to lead the recruits in the pledge of the allegiance, Chief Warrant Officer Ivan Chavez of the Army Reserve. Chavez, who shares more than a name with his son, is also a firefighter for the City of Miami.
He returned home Wednesday after a year of active duty in Afghanistan.
While he’s been serving overseas, his children have been going through the Miami Beach Fire Recruit program.
“Seeing them, and everything they’ve gone through, just makes it that much more special,” Chavez said. “It’s been 11 months that I haven’t seen them.”
His children were overwhelmed by the surprise.
“It wasn’t even a matter of thinking, it was just a matter of instant crying,” Jasmin said. “The filter was gone. It was automatic to just cry.”
“I was first shocked when I saw him,” Ivan said, “and I thought I was holding myself together pretty well, but once we sat down and I looked over to her, I lost it.”
Chavez’s fire station also showed up at the event, to give him a surprise of his own.
“The tables were turned. I don’t get surprised very easily,” Chavez said. “It means everything to me.”
Chavez said his coworkers are a part of his extended family.
“You can rely on them for anything, not just in the fire station, but in life in general,” he said. “I don’t know if you all got it like that, I got it like that.”
His fellow firefighters were happy to see him.
“Just our presence to see them and greet them home, it means the world to all of us,” said one of his coworkers. “It’s a nice thing to do for the brotherhood and sisterhood of the Miami Fire Department.”
All that’s left for the Chavez family now is making up for lost time.
“We’ve been able to text back and forth while he’s been gone, but just being able to speak in person and actually have him face to face and hold him and catch him up on a lot of things that have happened,” Ivan said.
Ivan and Jasmin said they’re looking forward to getting out on the water and fishing with their dad.
“There’s just a lot of catching up to do,” Jasmin said.
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