JOHNSON CREEK — Abbi Craven wasn’t expecting her husband, Ben, home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan for a couple more weeks, so she was flabbergasted when she recently got the call to come pick him up at the airport.

She was so surprised, in fact, she decided to return the favor and coordinate a surprise Veteran’s Day proclamation from the Village of Johnson Creek, where the couple just bought a home last year.

Craven orchestrated the honor so effectively that Ben suspected nothing as he entered the Johnson Creek Village Hall on Monday, Nov. 11.

“My original plan was just to get him featured as the ‘Resident Spotlight’ in the Village of Johnson Creek newsletter,” Craven explained. “But after I got in touch with the village, everyone got involved and we came up with the idea for a special surprise proclamation. Ben had no idea.”

Ben Craven joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating in 2012 from Palmyra-Eagle High School, where the couple met and began their romance. Since then, he married his sweetheart and has had three tours of duty overseas: Jordan in 2014, Korea in 2016, and most recently in Afghanistan.

Ben will be studying at Madison College this January, and ultimately plans to work toward his degree in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Johnson Creek has been so supportive and wonderful with helping me create this surprise for Ben,” said Abbi Craven. “I wanted to let him know how much I appreciate all he does for not only our family, but for our country.”

Local officials were happy to help.

“We were touched to receive Abbi’s heartfelt request,” said Johnson Creek Village Board of Trustees President John L. Swisher. “We support all our resident veterans and their families and were thrilled to share this surprise proclamation for Ben on Veterans Day.”

The surprise occurred at the beginning of the scheduled Committee of the Whole meeting at 5:30 p.m.

Ben Craven’s latest tour of duty was three months long and since his return, he’s found pleasure in the simple housekeeping tasks many find burdensome.

“He wasn’t even home for 10 hours before he was cutting the grass,” Abbi recalled. “He just couldn’t wait to do those simple ‘normal’ things around the house.”

Ben added, “It’s just nice go back to regular life … things like grocery shopping, taking care of the house. When I’m gone, Abbi has to do everything, so I’m happy to be able to do things for her.”

Unfortunately, Ben wasn’t home quite in time for the couple’s sixth wedding anniversary on Oct. 5, but both Abbi and Ben are looking forward to spending the holidays together at home.

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