Kentucky Sergeant Returns From Iraq, Surprises Family at Meeting Honoring Step-Son

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- If you have been to a local school board meeting lately, then you know it is not all talk about taxes and test scores.

Often, there is a special part of the meeting when the board honors students or staff, but it is not necessarily the recognition that makes people smile, but the people who choose to show up.

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Monday night, the Fayette County School Board honored the Lafayette High School Football Team for coming in second at state championships.

It is a big accomplishment for the team because this is the second year in a row the Generals have made it to states, but a team is made up of individuals, and for some of the players, this marks a big personal accomplishment.

It has been a difficult year for senior Branden Layne and his Mother, Brother, and Sister.

Their father, Sergeant Anthony Steinman, has been serving overseas in Iraq for the last nine months.

“You become a single mom…I wouldn’t have been able to do it this year without them that’s for sure. His senior year. It was tough so I’m very blessed to have a great football family,” Jennifer Steinman, Branden’s Mom, said.

It was a whole season of cheering from abroad for Sergeant Steinman.

“Because I’m the older brother I kind of have to step up and be the man of the house,” Layne said.

Recognition like the kind Layne got on Monday brings a burst of pride, but the faces in the crowd are what really make you feel good.

Sergeant Steinman surprised his family Monday, walking through the door at the School Board meeting and down the aisle to hug his step-son, Branden.

“There’s nothing better than being a mother and watching your kids be excited that their dad and step-dad is home,” Jennifer Steinman said.

Sergeant Steinman says he hopes to be home for at least a year. He is stationed at Fort Campbell, though, so even when he is home, he is still about a three and a half hour drive away from his family.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!