When U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Joseph Bierbrodt found out 5-year-old Cayleigh Hinton didn’t have a date to her father-daughter dance, he hopped at the chance to be her escort.
Her father, Army Sgt. Terrence Hinton was killed last year in a military training accident, and her mother, Jillian Hinton, described her to the Army News Service as “daddy’s little girl.”
She clarified that her spouse loved doing things with his girl and bringing her to the dance would have been a special moment for them both. Bierbrodt, a father himself, was touched when he listened about Cayleigh, and although nothing could replace her father being there, he attempted to make the night as special for her as he could.
“This is something I felt needed to be done,” he told the Army News Service. “Military is family to me, and as a family, we need to be there for each other.”
When he arrived at the house, he formally asked her to the dance, gave her a six-foot stuffed animal dog in an Army jacket, and the two traveled to the dance by way of a limousine.
“He’s definitely here in spirit,” Jillian Hinton told ABC 7 Chicago in reference to her husband. “I heard Cayleigh talking to him while she was getting ready, and I have no doubt she has him with her tonight.”
Bierbrodt added that it wasn’t even a choice of whether he’d take her and called it an “honor.”