Soldier returns from Afghanistan, surprises family at 4-H Fair


Memories are made all the time at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair, but one special moment brought tears to the eyes of spectators in the public on July 18.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Noblesville’s Peighton Zebrowski was participating in the 4-H Horse and Pony Western Show when her father, Pete, a chief warrant officer two in the U.S. Army, surprised her with a big hug in the horse arena.

“I thought it wasn’t real and it was a dream,” she said.

Zebrowski said her father was expected to come in August after serving the past year in Afghanistan.

“It was a spur of the moment,” Pete said. “I got home sooner than I anticipated.”

Pete said the moment was “surreal.”

“We’ve skyped a couple of times but it’s not the same as being here,” he said. “I usually come down and watch her. It’s so good to see her and watch.”

A second surprise occurred a half hour later because Katie, Peighton’s mother, missed the first embrace and hadn’t heard her of husband’s return. After being called to the horse office, a crowd gathered around the Zebrowskis until a roar of applause erupted after Pete tapped Katie’s shoulder.

An emotional Katie described the moment with one word – “blissful.”

“It’s been tough having him gone the past 11 months,” she said. “We’re proud of him for doing his duty but glad he’s home.”

Katie said she knew Pete was stateside in New Jersey but had no idea he had returned to Indiana.

“I was nervous the entire time he was over there (in Afghanistan),” she said.

The fact that Pete was able to see Peighton at fair was important for the family.

“Peighton’s worked so hard with her group in 4-H. She said, ‘my dad not seeing it.’ We sent videotapes but it’s not the same (as being in person),” Katie said.