Missouri Highway Patrol troopers surprise Thayer High School graduate with memorable gesture

MHP attend HS Graduation

A high school graduation in the Ozarks included many special guests. Friends and family of graduates at Thayer High School packed the gym Saturday night for the graduation of the 2018 class of Bobcats. One senior had a few extra friends in the stands. 18 Troopers from Troop G, surprised Hayden Dewayne Graham at the graduation. Hayden's late father, Dewayne Graham Jr., was shot and killed in an ambush 13 years ago outside of his Carter County home. Hayden was just four years old at the time. Sgt. Jeff Kinder says was an honor for him and his fellow troopers. "it meant a lot," said Sgt. Kinder. "You know, back in 2005 when Dewayne was killed, he was four-years-old. He's missed a lot of life's milestones with his dad. Such as Christmases, birthdays. You know a lot of that kind of stuff. Even though his dad wasn't physically able to be here today, we felt like we could stand up and be here for him." Troopers contacted Hayden's mother Tami Dubois a few weeks ago and asked if they could attend the ceremony to surprise Hayden and honor their brother in blue, Dewayne. "Sgt. Reese called me a couple of weeks ago and told me that they would like to come down and show up for Hayden's graduation and I thought that was pretty cool," she explains. "He stood for what we believe in, so we felt like it was our honor to stand up for him and be here for this milestone for his son," says Kinder. On Saturday night, just over 13 years later, Dewayne's son, Hayden Dewayne Graham, walked across the stage with mom, Dewayne's father, and 18 of his brothers in blue watching. "I was just real surprised. I had no idea that they would be there to support me for this," says Hayden Graham. It was a simple gesture that meant the world to him. "I was just proud that they still care and they're still with me and supporting me and here to congratulate me," he says. "I think he would be very proud and he would be thankful that his brothers were here to support Hayden," says Dubois. Everyone knew Graham was right there by son's side. "Dewayne was here," says Kinder. Only a few people knew of the gesture.

5/17/18

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