Deployed soldier surprises wife on graduation day at UF

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WSVN) — A woman received a special surprise on her graduation day when her deployed military husband made an unexpected appearance.

Dzarnyi Pukuma serves in the Army. He’s deployed in Afghanistan, but he returned home to Florida to deliver a special congratulations, Friday.

“I really got lucky that my commander was able to approve my leave and I was able to get a ticket,” said Dzarnyi.

His wife received a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

He flew into Gainesville a day ahead of time, and grabbed flowers on the way — a special order for his wife.

“Knowing my wife, she will cry and then be very, very happy about it,” said Dzarnyi.

His heart was racing, and he couldn’t wait to see her as he headed to the hall where the graduates gathered.

“It’s like a lot of emotions,” said Dzarnyi. “I’m waiting to bust out, basically, with joy.”

There was applause followed by tears, as the couple reunited for her big day.

“I wasn’t even gonna come, actually, but he was very persistent and he said that I should,” said Dzarnyi’s wife Emily Pukuma. “It was special.”

Moments later, Dzarnyi got the chance to see their 8-month-old daughter in person, instead of through a screen, for the first time in months.

“I can’t describe it — it’s a joy that I can’t describe,” said Dzarnyi. “It’s one of those things you live for. And I think if there’s anything that makes this year, this is it.”

And the opportunity to watch his wife get her doctorate.

Emily graduated with her Ph.D. in political science.

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