Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

June 21, 2013

A Father's Day message from Afghanistan

Four children whose parents grew up in Batesville had a surprising Father’s Day.

In the middle of a Nebraska baseball diamond, before the Men’s College World Series of Omaha 2 p.m. game began, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Obermeyer, stationed in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, and traveling in Afghanistan, appeared on the Jumbotron.

During a 20-second taped message, the 1991 Batesville High School graduate said, “I hope you’re having a good time. I miss you all.” Wife Beth Obermeyer recalls, “I held back the tears. I was lucky to have my sunglasses on. The kids were really excited. ‘It’s Daddy!’”

Back in Batesville, her mom, Linda Siefert, who was married to the late Robert Siefert, was hoping to catch a glimpse of the family during the game on ESPN. Behind the announcer, “you could see the Jumbotron” displaying Obermeyer’s video and the family watching it. Thinking about seeing her loved ones on TV “makes me tear up.”

On Father’s Day, the series’ organizers wanted to honor a deployed family. One came to see Obermeyer’s base commander there, who suggested the quintet. “To be the family selected as a representative by the military is a great honor for them,” Siefert points out.

On Sunday at 9:30 a.m., sons Tylor, 14, Seth, 10, and Jacob, 4, and daughter Sophia, 6, went with their mother, a 1998 Oldenburg Academy graduate, to a Hilton hotel, where they were met by Iván Rodríguez, a retired Major League Baseball catcher who played for six teams. They walked with him to tour the stadium. “The kids got to go out on the field and throw baseballs with him …. It was very cool.” The family also got autographs and photos with the catcher.

After an hourlong break at the hotel, the children enjoyed pitching and batting activities and snow cones at FanFest. Wearing shirts displaying Obermeyer’s photo, they were called out onto the field after the National Anthem for the surprise video.

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