Somerset Patriots Welcome Home Sgt. Alfredo Castro With Surprise Reunion With Family

sgt-castro2Bridgewater, NJ- On Saturday, September 10th, the Somerset Patriots helped plan a homecoming for Sgt. Alfredo Castro of Vernon, New Jersey to surprise his wife and two young sons at TD Bank Ballpark.


Sgt. Castro, a 17-year veteran of the United States Army, had not seen his family for 11 months when he returned to American soil and waited for the big moment to greet his wife and sons Alfredo (11) and Sebastian (7) on the field.


“I felt a lot of nervousness and anxiety. I was working really hard to get the kids and my wife to the game.  I was just hoping everything went off without a flaw and it all went smoothly,” said Sgt. Castro.


Alfredo and Sebastian were scheduled to throw out ceremonial first pitches before the game with Heidi looking on from the third base line with a camera in hand to capture their performance. As the boys’ turns came up, Somerset Patriots public address announcer Paul Spychala stopped the pre-game ceremonies to announce that a late arriving guest needed to come in to throw out a first pitch.


As his name was announced and the family saw Sgt. Castro emerge from the first base tunnel behind Somerset Patriots’ mascots Sparkee and Slider, Heidi, Alfredo, and Sebastian could not contain their emotions and ran to greet their loving husband and father.


“I was flushed with all kinds of emotion. You never know what to expect with them being so young and being in a situation like that,” said Sgt. Castro. “They kind of reacted the way I expected them to.”


The family ran towards one another and embraced at the first base line as tears of joy streamed down their faces.


Sgt. Castro met his wife when both were serving in the 1302nd Army unit in 2000. He said the two did not hit it off right away because while Sgt. Castro is a “morning person,” Heidi was the complete opposite. Now together for 16 years and with two children, the couple could not wait to be reunited after his current tour in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


“We just cried and were in such disbelief. I’m still in disbelief. Alfredo keeps coming by and pinching me because it feels like a dream to us,” said Heidi of the surprise reunion.


After about three months of careful planning to surprise his family, Sgt. Castro’s reuniting with his loved ones brought the ballpark crowd to their feet without a dry eye in the house.


“You see the videos of soldiers coming home all the time and this was something I always wanted to do. It was a dream come true,” Sgt. Castro added.

After all the emotion, Alfredo and Sebastian were able to still take the mound and deliver strikes with their first pitches.


“My proudest moment was actually when they went ahead with the first pitches and both threw strikes. That was my favorite part,” Sgt. Castro remarked with a proud smile.

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