A 'totally perfect' surprise

Kylie Schepers/The Herald
Courtney Vittitow, 17, of Dubois hugs her brother, Jordan Vittitow, who came home early from the Air Force on Monday and surprised his younger sister at her tennis match at Northeast Dubois High School.


DUBOIS — Courtney Vittitow, a senior on the Northeast Dubois tennis team, experienced a moment she’ll never forget on Monday evening.

Recently, she thought about her older brother Jordan returning from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Jordan graduated from Northeast Dubois in 2020, and had only traveled back home for Christmas.

Monday’s turn of events made her dreams come true. As Jordan entered the Northeast Dubois tennis court to surprise his younger sister on her senior night against Wood Memorial, Courtney dashed over to wrap him in a warm embrace.

“I was speechless when I saw him,” Courtney said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

Joining the military fulfilled Jordan’s dreams. Inspired by his close-knit family, Jordan expressed his desire to serve when he entered middle school. He signed with the Air Force in high school and traveled to Louisville last August.

His next chapter landed him in San Antonio, where he officially started the new phase of his life. It was a boyhood dream come to fruition, and he welcomed the challenges with open arms.

“There’s a sense of pride,” Jordan said. “There really is. You’re knowing that you can go out there and do something that not everybody sets out to do.”

The action-packed journey brought newfound happiness and joy last winter. After graduating basic training in October, he traveled to Dubois and married high school sweetheart Alexia Ford in December. He returned home with an open mind and an eager spirit — two characteristics he sharpened in the Air Force.

“I feel like I am serving part of something bigger,” Jordan said. “If my name were to be called and I had to perform and do my job, I feel like I could do it at the standard that they would hold it to.”

Indeed, Jordan is a young man who is in constant motion. His parents, Tammie and Fred, picked him up from Louisville on Monday afternoon. Jordan had a brief moment to catch his breath in Dubois, but he kept moving.

He wanted to surprise Courtney.

“There’s so much excitement,” Tammie said. “So much joy and happiness. All of those emotions.”

Monday’s events showcased copious amounts of kinship and pride. Tammie beamed with excitement as Jordan greeted Courtney on the court.

“I’m just proud of what he’s accomplished so far and how far he has come,” Tammie said. “He was nervous about going into basic training. He did well with basic training. He excelled more than he thought he would. I’m just so proud of him.”

The Air Force has widened Jordan’s horizons. By his own admission, his service has molded him into a man.

“It’s made me make a lot of adult decisions,” Jordan said. “Going out and buying food for yourself. Even buying toilet paper. It’s just the little things that you don’t even think about.”

June marks the arrival of another chapter. In just a few short weeks, Jordan will begin service at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. As Fred spectated the tennis match on Monday, he reflected upon his son’s accomplishments.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Fred said. “It’s one heck of a career path. He’s got his whole life ahead of him. It’s bittersweet. He’s going to Okinawa Island 14 hours away, but I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s serving in the military.”

FaceTime calls brought the entire family closer together over the past year. Jordan did not know anyone in Texas, so he contacted his family when he had free time. The calls brought clarity and normalcy to an unfamiliar situation.

Japan will be a completely new experience for the family, but Fred is looking forward to Jordan’s opportunity.

“Yeah, it’s going to be hard being that far from him,” Fred said. “If you think about it, it’s really no different from him being in Texas. We can still FaceTime. It’s just a little bit further away.”

Fred and Jordan enjoyed mountain biking together during their prior father-son bonding time. Jordan developed his adventurous spirit on those paths and trails.

“I’ve always loved Dubois,” Jordan said. “This is my home. I want to see what else is out there. That’s the main reason I joined the Air Force.”

As he embarks on the next leg of his journey, his friends and family constantly express their support and gratitude for his efforts. Make no mistake — the respect is reciprocated.

“I just want to say that I love them all,” Jordan said. “They’ve definitely helped me get to the point where I’m at now.”

Jordan was Courtney’s good-luck charm on Monday evening. Not only did she earn the win on the tennis court, she spent quality time with her older brother.

“I couldn’t be happier with how tonight went,” Courtney said. “Honestly, it was totally perfect.”

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