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GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Ed Schrader, president at Brenau University, gave a special acknowledgment to active military and veterans graduating during welcoming remarks at the 2015 commencement.
He singled out veteran: Debra Cooper who was graduating with a Master of Occupational Therapy degree.
Not only had Cooper served in the U.S. Army, Schrader said, but her daughter, Staff Sgt. Markita James was currently serving in Afghanistan.
Schrader corrected himself.
“Actually Sgt. James is not in Afghanistan,” he said. “She is here so that she could be with her mother at graduation.”
James was in the audience, behind the graduating class. When Schrader said the words “not in Afghanistan,” her mother began frantically looking around.
The two embraced and shared tears and hugs.
"She's my she-ro," James said about her mother.