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This Gold Star Kid Didn't Have a Date, So a Soldier Stepped Up

Illinois National Guard 1st Sgt. Joseph Bierbrod arrives at the Hinton's home to ask Cayleigh Hinton if he can escort her to the Father-Daughter. Cayleigh's father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton, died in a 2017 training accident. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)
Illinois National Guard 1st Sgt. Joseph Bierbrod arrives at the Hinton's home to ask Cayleigh Hinton if he can escort her to the Father-Daughter. Cayleigh's father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton, died in a 2017 training accident. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)

Gold Star kid Cayleigh Hinton, 5, didn't have a date to this year's father-daughter dance.

Described as "Daddy's little girl" by her mom, Jillian Hinton, Cayleigh's father, Army Sgt. Terrence Hinton was killed in a 2017 training accident at his Hawaii duty station.

So the local military community near her home in Springfield, Illinois stepped up. First Sgt. Joseph Bierbrodt, an Illinois National Guard soldier, asked Cayleigh to the ball in her father's stead.

Cayleigh Hinton and Illinois National Guard 1st Sgt. Joseph Bierbrod arrive at a father-daughter dance in February. Cayleigh’s father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton, died in a 2017 training accident. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)
Cayleigh Hinton and Illinois National Guard 1st Sgt. Joseph Bierbrod arrive at a father-daughter dance in February. Cayleigh’s father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton, died in a 2017 training accident. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)

"He (Terrence) loved doing school activities with Cayleigh. He would have loved to take her to a father-daughter dance," Jillian Hinton said, according to this Army release. "We wish he could be here today, but we know that he is looking down on us and loves us."

Making the night perfect and magical for Cayleigh was the focus of Bierbrodt's mission. As a father of four who has taken his own daughters to dances, he knew just how important this moment could be.

Cayleigh Hinton whose father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton died in a 2017 training accident, gets in a limo on her way to the February father-daughter dance. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)
Cayleigh Hinton whose father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton died in a 2017 training accident, gets in a limo on her way to the February father-daughter dance. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)

"When I received the request to do this, it touched me," Bierbrodt said in the release. "This is something I felt needed to be done. Military is family to me and as a family we need to be there for each other."

Cayleigh Hinton, daughter of Sgt. Terrence Hinton, dances with 1st Sgt. Joseph Bierbrodt at a father-daughter dance in Illinois. Cayleigh's father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton, died in a training accident May 14, 2017 in Hawaii. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)
Cayleigh Hinton, daughter of Sgt. Terrence Hinton, dances with 1st Sgt. Joseph Bierbrodt at a father-daughter dance in Illinois. Cayleigh's father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton, died in a training accident May 14, 2017 in Hawaii. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)

"Cayleigh looks absolutely beautiful tonight and she is priceless," Bierbrodt said at the February event.

Beirbrodt formally asked Cayleigh to the dance at her home with flowers in hand, and even presented her with a six-foot stuffed dog in an Army jacket.

The pair then went to the dance in a limo, escorted by the Patriot Guard and multiple police and fire departments.

Cayleigh Hinton whose father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton died in a 2017 training accident, dances with David Gier, Senior Ride Captain of the Illinois Patriot Guard, at a father-daughter dance. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)
Cayleigh Hinton whose father, Sgt. Terrence Hinton died in a 2017 training accident, dances with David Gier, Senior Ride Captain of the Illinois Patriot Guard, at a father-daughter dance. (Illinois National Guard/Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams)

"When you're five years old everything happens in moments," her mom said at the time, according to the release. "I have seen her get excited over and over again tonight and that's what make me so happy. I'm so thankful for all of this."

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