A Gold Star girl was beside herself knowing that she wouldn’t have a date to her school’s “daddy-daughter dance.” However, guests would be shocked to see the Illinois 5-year-old arrive — and, even better yet, who else showed up.
No one deserves our respect more than those who serve or have served in the United States military. Of course, not everyone agrees, but that doesn’t make it any less true seeing how these brave men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect our very right to express whatever we feel.
All anyone needs to do to understand why they are so deserving, though, is to recognize the fact that not everyone comes home. Leaving their friends, family, and children behind to keep our country safe, those in uniform do the unimaginable so that we can all enjoy a life of freedom.
Although many Americans acknowledge this reality for what it is, these sentiments may do little for those directly impacted by the loss of a loved one. In fact, 5-year-old Cayleigh Hinton experienced just that after finding out that her school was hosting a “daddy-daughter dance.”
Come to find out, Cayleigh’s father, Army Sgt. Terrence Hinton, was killed in a military training exercise last year in Hawaii. As a result, she didn’t have a date to the school function — but things were far from over. Doing as any good parent would, Cayleigh’s mother, Jillian Hinton, sprang into action.
Presumably taking to social media, Jillian requested help in making her daughter’s night something to remember. According to IJ Review, Jillian had asked if someone from the National Guard could take Cayleigh to her school’s “daddy-daughter dance.” Fortunately for her, she would soon get a reply.
Once First Sergeant Joseph Bierbrod saw the request, he states that he immediately knew what to do. “It wasn’t even really a choice for me,” Bierbrod explained. “I view it as an honor to be able to do this for her.” Of course, this hero wasn’t about to simply bring her to the dance either — he went all out.
Showing up on the night of the event, Bierbrod brought a few things with him. After renting a limo and arranging for police, firefighters, and the Patriot Guard to escort them to Our Lady of Humility School in Beach Park, Illinois, he showed up to the little girl’s home. Just like that, he got out and presented Cayleigh with a six-foot stuffed dog in an Army jacket and gave her a large bouquet of flowers.
After that, the two then made their way to the dance, leaving everyone inside downright shocked. “This is something I felt needed to be done,” Bierbrod told the Army News Service. “Military is family to me, and as a family, we need to be there for each other.”
In the end, the two danced the night away and had a great time, but it’s Cayleigh’s mom who seems to be the one most delighted, considering what this meant to her daughter. “He’s definitely here in spirit,” Jillian Hinton told ABC 7 Chicago in reference to her late husband. “I heard Cayleigh talking to him while she was getting ready, and I have no doubt she has him with her tonight.”
There are no words to explain what this family must go through on a daily basis, but they are most certainly not alone. Although they may feel like it at times, it’s people like Bierbrod who show that they will always have someone to lean on. Sure, it’s impossible to show every Gold Star family that they’re in our thoughts and prayers every day, but we can be there when it’s needed most — and that’s the important part.