Deployed mom and her son have emotional reunion when she surprises him at West Georgia graduation

CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. — A University of West Georgia student got more than just his degree when he walked across the stage to accept his diploma. His mother, who is actively deployed in Southern Europe, made a surprise appearance.

Malik Heard made it.

He is a college graduate, and on Saturday at the University of West Georgia, he grabbed his diploma and was shaking hands when one word from the announcer got his attention.

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“Kosovo, Kosovo, that’s what caught my attention. I was listening to what he was saying but then I heard Kosovo and I knew that’s where she was deployed I was like hold on,” Heard said.

“I looked to the right again and I saw her come around the corner and that’s when my heart dropped,” he said.

Heard’s mother, Sgt. Eva Roby, serves in the National Guard. She was serving a tour in Kosovo, but she didn’t want to miss this tear-inducing reunion. And she started plotting months ago to get here.

“It was a pretty popular time quite a few graduations so it was a possibility my leave wasn’t going to be approved,” Roby said.

But once it was approved, she reached out to the University of West Georgia.

“I contacted them and as soon as I contacted them they were all for it they were excited,” Roby said.

She’s long been committed to being there for her kids.

“I’m that mom that I don’t miss too much of anything,” Roby said.

Their reunion has gone viral.


Their embrace is a sign of the sacrifice of our servicemen, women, and their families. A mother is proud of her son, and a son is proud of his mother.

“The fact that he’s a young adult or young male and how he ran to me, like a little and I think it just shows no matter how old or grown they pretend to be they always need, I’m not going to say mom but their parents in a sense,” Roby said.

Heard is now a special education teacher working with elementary students.

Roby is home for just one more week before she returns to Kosovo until next year.

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