A surprise in fatigues

Yayah Sesay (far left) returned from Afghanistan after being gone for nearly a year. He surprised his family at his daughter's swim meet held at the Bartlett Recreation Center. From left, his family includes, Halima, Mila, Zinayida and Sontti.

By Julie Ray

Lakeland resident and member of the Bartlett extreme swim team, Mila Sesay, participated recently in swim competitions at the Bartlett Recreational Center.  Sesay may not have won in the competition, but she and her family were winners with a surprise visit from LSC (SW/AW/EXW) Yayah Sesay.

Yayah is in the Navy Special Forces and was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year.  Though his family was not aware that he was back in the states, much less home in Bartlett, Yayah came straight from the airport to the Bartlett Recreational Center.

“My daughter Mila was swimming down the lane.  I was standing on the side of the pool.  When she looked up and saw me, she got so excited,” said Yayah. “My oldest daughter, Halima, was sitting on a bench with her head down.  I walked up to her as she looked up and she got the biggest smile on her face and started crying.”

While Yayah was telling how he surprised his family, it was impossible to miss the excitement in his own voice at the thought of seeing his family again and surprising them unexpectedly. He and his wife, Zinayida also have a son, Sontti. And Yayah is grateful to be home with his wife and all of his children-at least for now.

“I will be home for one year,” said Yayah. “After that I will ship out again.”