Vaiden native, Lt. Col. Cotina Jenkins-Sellers, who had been stationed in Southwest Asia for the past eight months, staged a surprised reunion with her son, Derrick, at his middle school basketball game last week.
A video of the surprise reunion has since gone viral, even appearing on ABC's "Good Morning, America" and other national news organizations.
In the first quarter, coaches organized a fake technical foul called on the basketball court, and Derrick, with his back to his mother, shot two free throws. After shooting and missing the second shot, with no idea of his mother was standing behind him, Jenkins-Sellers put her hand on her son's shoulder and told him it was alright he missed the shot. Overwhelmed, Derrick cried tears of joy.
"I was surprised, but not surprised," Jenkins-Sellers said. "He was very happy; I was very happy, and I told him I was sorry. He was crying."
Jenkins-Sellers and her husband, Maj. Michael Sellers, arranged for the flight to land in San Antonio in time for the game. Family members from Vaiden were also at the game.
For the past eight months, Jenkins-Sellers, who serves in the U.S. Air Force, said she missed not only Derrick's football season but the Christmas holidays. Jenkins-Sellers said she saw some of the games on Face Time, an app used on a smart phone, but it wasn't the same.
"Deep down inside I wanted to be there," she said. "The holidays were really tough."
Jenkins-Sellers, who has another son, Cason, has lived in San Antonio since 2011. The 1993 Vaiden High School and Mississippi Valley State grad said she has enjoyed the time with her family.
Jenkins-Sellers' parents Sylvester and Mary Fleming were also at the game when she returned to the states as well as her brother Sylvester Fleming, Jr. and niece, Nakyla Fleming.
"My entire family was here, and we spent a lot of time together," she said. "It really meant a lot."
No stranger to returning home to Vaiden, Jenkins-Sellers said she tries to return to Mississippi at least two or three times a year.