Soldier surprises wife at Tennessee Tech graduation

Private First Class Dillon Sandlin is stationed in Washington state with the U.S. Army, but he made a surprise appearance at Tennessee Tech’s afternoon commencement ceremony to congratulate his wife, Meghan Sandlin.

“I really didn’t think I would be able to come,” he said. “We have a lot going on and are doing some heavy training right now.”

Meghan was unaware that her husband had made the case to his leadership to allow him to come to Cookeville to watch her receive her bachelor’s degree from Tech’s College of Agriculture and Human Ecology.

“There aren’t going to be many big events in her life from here that aren’t ours together,” he said. “So, I wanted to be here to support her through that. She has always supported me and has made sacrifices to do that.”

The couple is from Gainesboro. This was the first time Dillon had been home or seen his wife since Christmas.

“I am super proud of her,” he said. “She has worked hard to get where she is.”

It was an emotional moment for Meghan and many in the crowd at the Hooper Eblen Center as Dylan made his way to his wife’s side near the end of the commencement ceremony.

“TTU would like to thank the U.S. Army and leadership at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for sharing one of their soldiers with us,” Tech President Phil Oldham said. “Tennessee Tech has always been very supportive of our military members as well as their dependents. We are truly thankful and appreciative of your service and sacrifice.”

Dillon made his way back to his base in Washington, but now that her degree work at Tech is finished, Meghan has plans to join him there soon.

She was among 1,520 graduates to earn degrees.

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