VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) — Tears welled up in senior Audrey Crowder’s eyes as she turned around to see a familiar face in her shadow.
“I will remember this moment for the rest of my life,” said Crowder.
Crowder’s brother, Hayden, serves in the US Marine Corps and made a one-day trip to USI to see his sister play volleyball.
Because of being stationed in North Carolina, Crowder said they have not been able to see each other for nearly eight months.
“Him being here meant a lot to me,” she said.
Before the game, the university played a video of Hayden wishing his sister good luck. But there was more to the surprise.
Hayden tapped his sister on the shoulder with a flower bouquet in hand.
“I had no idea. Emotions were really high and I was really glad to see him,” said Crowder.
The volleyball team said the surprise was orchestrated like a covert military mission. Crowder’s volleyball coach Jeffrey Aucoin said it took months of planning and work behind the scenes.
“It has been hard to keep it under wraps for the last month or two,” said Aucoin. “I know that it means the world to Audrey.”
When the game started, Hayden and the rest of the Crowder family watched Audrey play. Although the team lost, it was a win in the coach’s eyes.
“That is what a team is all about, creating memories and environments for them. So we were happy to do that for Audrey.”