Huntington Soldier Returns Home

By Rachel Martin

September 27, 2012 Updated Oct 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The unexpected happened to a local Huntington family as a surprise guest interrupted their dinner.

For the Middaugh's it was just another dinner out with friends Thursday night at the Huntington Applebee's until they got the surprise of their life.

Rick and Brenda Middaugh’s son, Nick, surprised them by returning home after serving four years in the Marine Corps. Nick told his parents that he would be home Sunday instead.

“I was trying to plan something out and our neighbor Dawn, she kind of helped me out,” said Nick. “It’s great! I’m excited! I love it!” he said about being home.

Dawn Blubaugh, the Middaugh’s neighbor of 10 years, says she’s known about Nick's homecoming for a month, and set up the whole surprise with a little lie.

“I said, ‘hey I filled out a survey online and I won dinner for four at Applebee's’,” she laughed. So Dawn invited the Middaughs.

Everyone, including Rick's boss, was in on the surprise.

“I thought I'd done something wrong and I was being sent home early. Then our great neighbors invited us to this dinner, and now I figured it all out,” laughed Rick.

Brenda says she's never been surprised like this before.

“When I first saw him standing there I didn't think it was actually him. When I noticed it was him I was very very happy, but shocked,” she said. “His sister’s going to be shocked too.”

Nick says he was home two Christmases ago, and after serving for three and a half years in Japan, and traveling to 12 different countries, he says he's checked out of the military and will be home for good. So what's next for the soldier?

“Finding good work…money…something. I don't know, anything,” Nick laughed. “Just be with the family, work on cars and do what I like to do.”

The Middaughs say Nick has changed a lot during his time away, and they couldn't be prouder of their son.

“We’re extremely proud of him. He’s made the achievements that he’s set forth to do. We knew he had it in him because prior to going into the Marine Corps...hmm,” laughed Rick. “But they made a man of him and I have a lot of respect for the man.”

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