It was a home run for the O’Quinn family of Covington on Saturday night as the family’s four children threw out the first pitch to a surprise catcher at the New Orleans Zephyrs against the Sacramento River Cats.
The O’Quinn family of Covington, including mom Brittany, Triston, 10; Wyatt, 7; Jessa, 4; and baby Amelia, 1, were asked to throw in the ceremonial pre-game “first pitch,” following an emotional video from the family’s patriarch, Sgt. Jason O’Quinn, serving with the 1021 Engineer Company of the Louisiana National Guard in Kuwait.
All the action played out as the family gathered on the pitcher’s mound, and the catcher took the plate. Triston pitched first, and launched the ball near enough to the plate for a good catch. Wyatt was next, and then little Jessa wound up the ball like a pro before firing off a rocket.
After Amelia managed a good rolling effort, the catcher stood up and removed his mask to reveal he was their father. Sgt. O’Quinn ran toward the mound and into the arms of his surprised children.
O’Quinn was clearly emotional as he bent down to scoop up all four children in his arms. Asked how he felt, he said, “Just utter amazement, I’m just so happy to see them. It’s awesome, just awesome.”
Wyatt said, “I didn’t know. This is, this is my dad right here, and I didn’t even know he was right behind home (plate).”
Jason O’Quinn, who has served with the Guard for 13 years, deployed to Kuwait last year, and has not seen his family in 10 months. In addition to serving in Kuwait, the Hammond Police officer also completed a tour in Afghanistan in 2003.
The Slidell service group “Bring It Home Northshore” learned about the family and O’Quinn’s deployment and was working on getting the children to the game as part of their mission to provide entertainment and fun outings for families of local troops serving overseas.
When the group found out that O’Quinn would be returning this week, they sprang into action, partnering with wife Brittany and the New Orleans Zephyrs to create a “welcome home” event for the children. They teamed with the Slidell Ladies for Liberty, which supported O’Quinn throughout his deployment. The children did not expect him home until early July.
Brittany shared, “It was so, so hard to act like I didn’t know anything. The kids have been through a lot this year, so I’m glad we were able to make it special for them. Right after I picked him up, we almost spoiled the surprise because we were so anxious to get the kids.”
Over the roar of the appreciative crowd, the children were heard repeatedly telling their father how much they missed him, as he hugged each one of them in turn as they walked off the field.
The family stayed for the remainder of the game, taking pictures with appreciative admirers, welcoming him home and thanking him for his service. A busload of supporters were in on the surprise and cheered as the family arrived in their seats for the beginning of the game.