The 50-year-old wife and mother was finally achieving her dream of becoming a professional nurse, but her big day was bittersweet.
Her son is 29-year-old U.S. Army Sgt. Dustin Pearson. Dustin spent his entire year overseas on deployment in Kuwait, and Penny deeply missed him.
It’s a tradition that nursing graduates choose a special loved one to present them with their pins. Since Dustin couldn’t be there, Penny’s husband was going to present her pin.
However, little did Penny know that her friends at college had planned a very special surprise.
In the emotional clip below, watch what happened when Penny was called to the stage to receive her pin. When she heard the big announcement, the onlookers cheered as she broke down in tears.