By Justin Udo

CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — A mom graduating from Rutgers-Camden gets a special surprise that was thousands of miles in the making.

Jesus Ortega has been away from home for the last eight months, and he’s spent a majority of that time with his Marine company in Korea.

But, he did not want to miss his mom’s college graduation Wednesday night. So he got special permission to come home to be there for her special moment.

“I know it was a big day for my mom, and I wanted to be there to support her,” he said.

When Mahiryn Holguin-Pagan crossed the stage to accept her diploma, she got the surprise of a lifetime.

Jesus was waiting there to hug an congratulate her.

“I waited for this day for years and just having him here, means the world to me,” Holguin-Pagan said.

Jesus was equally excited.

“I’m just absolutely blessed. I’m happy I got this opportunity,” he said.

Mahiryn, who received her degree in sociology, plans on going back to school to get her masters in education; but for the time being, she is going to celebrate with Jesus and enjoy his time home.

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