Yukon soldier surprises kids at school

New U.S. Army chaplain grateful to Skyview staff, students for support

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Sharing tears of joy, Yukon’s Job Ozovehe hugs daughter Esther during a surprise visit Dec. 16 inside her first-grade classroom at Skyview Elementary School. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Three Yukon elementary students received an early Christmas present when their father surprised them at school after being away at U.S. Army training.

Tears of joy were flowing Dec. 16 at Skyview Elementary School, 650 S Yukon Parkway.

Yukon’s Job Ozovehe had not seen his young children for 92 days since leaving Sept. 13 for Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) in Fort Jackson, S.C.

A Yukon resident for more than three years, Ozovehe will serve the U.S. Army as a chaplain.

It was a “family reunion” last Friday afternoon when the single father surprised his children in front of their classmates – pre-kindergartner Mary and first grader Esther inside their classrooms and third grader Joshua in the cafeteria.

Skyview Principal Carla Smith expressed heartfelt thanks to Ozovehe, the school’s “special guest,” for his service to the country.

The new Army chaplain, in turn, thanked school personnel and students for their support during his absence this fall.

Ozovehe knew Mary, Esther and Joshua were getting the best education possible at Skyview while he was away.

“I want to show my gratitude to the school,” he said. “They’ve been tremendous. They have been amazing. They have taken good care of my kids.

“They’ve just loved them. That took some pressure off of me because I knew Skyview was taking good care of the kids. It has given me peace.”

Ozovehe credited his aunt Bola Femi for watching Mary, Esther and Joshua at their Yukon home while he trained in South Carolina.

“She’s been amazing; she’s been very tremendous,” he shared. “She’s been watching over the kids, taking care of them. My heart is just overwhelmed for the sacrifices she’s made.”

Last Friday was the last day of class for Yukon Public Schools before a two-week Christmas vacation break.

After completing basic officer training in South Carolina to become a U.S. Army chaplain, Job Ozovehe is welcomed back to Oklahoma by his children – third grader Joshua, first grader Esther and pre-kindergartner Mary. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Having just awoken from a nap, pre-kindergartner Mary is surprised to see her dad, Job Ozovehe, who had been away for 92 days at U.S. Army training in South Carolina. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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OFF TO GEORGIA

After graduating from Army officer training, Ozovehe has been assigned to Fort Stewart, Ga. He and his three children will move to the Savannah area, so last Friday was a bittersweet day at Skyview Elementary.

“This is the last day of school (before the holiday break), and it’s also the last day of them being here,” Ozovehe pointed out. “They’re going to miss their friends, but we’re hoping they’re going to adjust very well.

“The Army has a lot of resources to support integration and coping with change.”

Although he knew he’d be gone for more than three months this fall, Ozovehe doesn’t regret leaving Oklahoma to join the U.S. Army.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Ozovehe came to the United States in 2010.

After attending bible school, he earned a master’s degree at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and completed his doctoral studies at Liberty University in Virginia.

“Then the Army came calling and asked if I’d like to serve,” said Ozovehe, who previously worked as a chaplain at the Bethany Children’s Health Center.

“It was something I always wanted to do.”

He is following in the footsteps of his father, who served in the Nigerian Army.

“My father would have loved to have been a chaplain in the Army,” the Yukon soldier related. “He told me, the best thing to be in the Army is a chaplain.

“At the end of my education, I saw that everything actually ‘fit in’ to chaplaincy. When the Army came calling, it was like the seed had already been sown. So, it wasn’t hard to make that decision.”

New U.S. Army chaplain Job Ozovehe embraces his son, third grader Joshua, in the Skyview Elementary cafeteria. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Skyview Elementary teacher Autumn Wood greets Job Ozovehe, who surprised his children and other students Dec. 16 after being gone for three months training to become a U.S. Army chaplain. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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