Channel 3 and Frontier Communications have banded together to share with you priceless moments in the lives of some of Connecticut's many military families. It's called Hometown Heroes.
This week's story focuses on a surprise reunion between a father and son after a cancer diagnosis rattled the family.
"This is a first big surprise that he's ever had," Sandy Savino said.
Billy Stroh's friends and family including his sister Sandy have been scrambling to pull off a birthday bash that will surely knock him off his feet.
"My brother just thinks this is a picnic for a friend," Savino said.
About six weeks ago, Stroh's world had been turned upside down. He had been complaining about a sore throat.
"We all said 'Bill, you gotta have this checked out,'" his friend Craig Lagasse said.
But it turned out to be far more serious then what they ever could have imagined, Stroh had stage 4 throat cancer.
"A month ago we thought we were going to lose him. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out," Lagasse said.
Stroh's family wanted to do something to boost his spirits and bring the whole family together including his son.
"The best surprise of all," Savino said.
Bill Stroh Jr., who is United States Marine stationed in California, learned about his father's diagnosis over the phone. So, he came back to Connecticut to surprise his father.
An American hero was united with his own hero, his dad.
"Having billy here just means everything. It means everything," Bill Stroh, Sr. said.
Bill Stroh, Sr. was not the only one surprised, his wife and daughter were in shock, too.
"I was so surprised -- I thought is he really here? Is he really here," wife Charlene Stroh said.
"I think it's incredible. The support of my family here, my friends...it's just overwhelming," Bill Stroh, Sr. said. "It's what's keeping me going strong for sure."
The family said that being together during this dark time will help them stay positive and move forward.
"This is making me really optimistic about everything, my family all together," Bill's daughter Samantha Stroh said.
Stroh's family said his prognosis has been improving and Eyewitness News will continue to provide updates on his path to recovery.
To nominate a military family for Hometown Heroes, fill out the form here.
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