Few things are more uplifting than the return of a family member from deployment. Quinton Lewis, Military Police Officer (MP) for the United States Marine Corps, used his time off to give his wife, Destiny, the ultimate graduation gift.
Lewis graduated from Portage High School in 2016. Because of his involvement in the JROTC program, he knew that enlisting in the military was his life’s calling.
“I wanted to join the Marine Corps because of the Portage High School JROTC program,” he said. “I wanted to join the military anyway, but that influenced my decision on which branch.”
After graduation, Lewis started filling out paperwork for the Marines. It wasn’t until January 2017, however, that he headed out for bootcamp. He and his wife, Destiny, were married that same September, and he was deployed to Camp Fuji in Japan in October. He has been there for the last eight months, serving his country with the utmost dedication.
After saving up his time off over the last couple of months, Lewis decided to take his leave to come home and support his wife at her high school graduation.
“You get two and a half days off every month so I just built up enough days. She was originally supposed to come to Japan, thought it’d be cheaper if I just surprised her at her graduation,” said Lewis. “That way I didn’t miss it; I didn’t want to. I sent in leave requests without telling her.”
Upon purchasing a ticket and maneuvering around his family’s initial suspicion, Lewis enlisted his brother to help make the surprise possible.
“I was originally supposed to surprise my family but that didn’t happen because they’re too sneaky,” he laughed. “So I surprised my parents the day before while [my wife] was at work, and we tried to figure out what we could possibly do at the graduation, and the school was trying to figure something out as well.”
Finally, they came up with an idea.
“We though I would surprise her while she was taking [graduation] pictures, so my brother came and picked me up from a friend’s house. We drove to my house, and I hid in the garage while she was doing her hair and makeup,” he said. “When my wife was taking pictures, that’s when they told me to come out. I came from behind her and her whole family was there and none of them knew. Destiny had no idea whatsoever that I was coming home.”
After some hugs, tears, and reunion, they attended Destiny’s graduation from Portage High School and started to celebrate the months to come. Lewis spent the rest of his visit holding game nights and going out to eat with family and friends.
“I will be at Fuji for another four months, and then I expect to come back,” said Lewis. “I’ll have the same amount of days of leave, and then I’ll probably be sent to California.”
Lewis will miss his family, but knowing that he has a country he loves to come home to makes it all worth it.
“The moment I stepped off the plane in Chicago, I remembered how it was to be in America. It felt good to be back in the States,” he said. “It felt weird being in Japan for a little bit and then I got used to it. Now I’ve come back to America and I’ve already gotten used to it. Everyone’s here, everyone’s so kind...America is all I know.”