Being deployed in itself is one of the bravest and most challenging things a person can do, but when you’re leaving behind your family and young children, it adds a whole new layer of difficulty. When Staff Sgt. Philip Gray found out he was being deployed to Afghanistan, he wanted to make sure his young daughter remembered every single day just how much he loved her.
On October 7, 2019, Staff Sgt. Philip Gray left Fort Drum, New York for his 10-month deployment. His wife Kristen and 7-Year-old daughter Rosie remained at home, but both were constantly at the forefront of his mind. To make sure that Rosie knew her dad was thinking about her, Kristen Gray came up with a brilliant idea.
Before Staff Sgt. Philip Gray left, he wrote 270 notes for his daughter, one for every day he expected to be overseas. Every morning of his deployment, Kristen slipped a single note into Rosie’s lunchbox. Sometimes they were holiday greetings that he couldn’t give in person, others were words of encouragement, but they all had one thing in common – each note was written with a whole lot of love.
“He wrote anything from, ‘You are super girl’ to ‘Smiling makes everyone else smile,'” Kristen Gray told Good Morning America. “He was very big on feel-good words for her and girl power. He made sure to tell her how smart she was, and run fast in P.E. and things that would really make her happy.”
Kristen shared some of the heartwarming notes on TikTok, each one signed “-Dad.”
@kris10grayyyReposting the original this Veterans Day. 🇺🇸 Thank you to @kellyclarksonshow for finding our story and sharing. 🤍 ##militaryfamily ##deployment
Staff Sgt. Philip Gray’s deployment ended up being extended, but fortunately, this loving army dad made it home just days before his daughter’s birthday. Gray’s lunchbox notes helped him show his love for Rosie even from thousands of miles away. And when Rosie found out her dad was home, well, it’s abundantly clear how much she loves him right back.
@kris10grayyyHit 10k followers & wanted to repost my first video that brought me to TikTok. Wait for her reaction. 💙 ##happylife ##positivity ##militaryhomecoming