By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While the Minnesota Vikings were losing to the Oakland Raiders at the Metrodome, a Minnesota soldier was plotting a huge surprise for his wife and family.

Under normal circumstances, Staff Sergeant Matthew Helget usually loves watching the Vikings.

“Any chance I get, I’ll go to a Vikes game,” he said.

He sometimes gets to use his boss’s season tickets, but this time he’s in a suite as part of Military Appreciation Day.

And he’s nervous.

“I’ve been nervous for the last two damn days,” said Matt. “Since I landed, since I’ve been in the hotel.”

His wife thinks he won’t be back from Kuwait until Tuesday. She thinks the family is just at the game to watch an announcement on the scoreboard.

“I recorded a shout out that’ll be on the JumboTron,” he said. “And my family is going to … that’s why they got the free tickets … but they don’t know I’m here to surprise them.”

Matt spends the first half of the game checking them out from afar. And then moves into position for the big surprise.

“I’m really nervous now,” he said from the top of the stairs leading to the field. “I’m glad I took my hat. I keep drying my hands off on it.”

Finally, the family watches his message. As it plays above, Matt moves in to surprise them from behind.

After six months away and weeks of planning, a soldier is reunited with his wife Jaime and their 8-year-old daughter, Maddison.

“Best feeling in the world,” he said afterwards.

Now they will head home to Sleepy Eye with a lot of ground to cover during his two-week leave.

“His birthday was Friday; his 30th” said his mother-in-law, Beth Domeier. “So we’ve got his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas to try to make it all happen.”

This is Matt’s third deployment overseas. After his two-week leave, he’ll head back to Kuwait for 5-and-a-half months.

Comments (14)
  1. Sue J says:

    Great Story WCCO!

  2. Nancy Aleshire says:

    Nice story–can’t wait to see them all home for good!!!!!

  3. Rocket Scientist says:

    Nice, dude got to party a couple extra days before having to come back top the real world. Since he is only a couple days early, does this really constitute noews?

    1. Deb Grund Meyer says:

      Really? man I hate how negative everyone has to be on these stories-

  4. mary says:

    I was at the game…and bawling. It was amazing sight to see 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    I was at the game yesterday also & cried when that happened. I have a brother & nephew-in-law in the Military & they both have been deployed numerous times. I just wish ALL our soldiers could come home safe!! 🙂

    1. Me says:

      A nephew-in-law…? lol that’s a new one

  6. Deb Grund Meyer says:

    What a wonderful surprise for the family- even if it was just a few days early can you imagine what his 8 year old will remember for the rest of her life the story of Daddy surprising them at a Vikings game! Wonderful story- Sure beats all the killings and everything else criminal that goes on!

  7. tayor J says:

    This is why we need to have a new stadium for the vikes! 🙂

  8. BlackMan says:

    Really? There is a lot of talk about the world than these kind of stupid supprises.

  9. Shanene says:

    Uggh…like this hasn’t happened before. This story is played out every year around the holidays and is getting old.

    1. HEATHER says:

      Do you have someone serving over seas? Do you know that this particular family has had him away from them a number of times. Please be respectful of others. He is serving for your freedom!!

  10. Alex says:

    If your so sick of hearing about these stories, why do you bother reading them?

  11. Silence says:

    I am getting pretty sick and tired of reading negative comments. If you’ve never known or had someone from your family in the military, you will never understand. I know this guy and he has been through a lot .. in fact, he was nominated for this to happen by the members of his platoon. And less than a couple years ago, he spent 22 months in Iraq. He’s been away from his family for almost half of his daughter’s life. So heaven forbid we celebrate the homecoming of a soldier who has dedicated a large portion of his early adult life to serving his country. YOU may have heard stories like this before, but if you’ve never EXPERIENCED it before, by knowing the people personally and being right in the middle of it, you don’t have a shred of knowledge on what kind of impact it has on all of us. If we didn’t have people like him around carrying the burden of protecting the well-being of our country, your FREEDOMS would not exist .. including the one to freely run your mouth in an inappropriate manner..

    So I will return the favor by saying those of you who have such ignorant things to say can go crawl back into your sad, dark holes from which you came..

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