CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fl. - An emotional reunion as incarcerated fathers saw their families for the first time in months, even years.
It's thanks to a program that is helping 300 kids in South Florida visit their parents in prisons around the state. Friday's visit was about recreating the holidays so these dads started it by shopping for their kids. They gave presents to their children, some of whom they haven't seen in a couple of years.
For the day, these families are reunited and feel a sense of normalcy and these inmates become just husbands, finances and fathers.
"It's unexplainable! It's just a beautiful feeling knowing that this day right here came. I couldn't sleep last night to tell you the truth, says Michael Doe.
Stanford Ellis hugged his fiance and two boys for the first time in two years. It's a feeling he could only describe as...
"Electricity... we got a chance to still be fathers and pick out a gift we desired to give them," ellis says.
That gift was the game, Battleship for his 11-year-old, Darron.
"I think he went easy on me that's the only reason why I won," says Darron.
These visits are thanks to a partnership between the Department of Corrections and the Children and Inmates program. It's a vital part of helping these families be successful when they're together for good.
"An opportunity for us to work with the incarcerated parents to emphasize parenting and to emphasize the importance of them playing a role in their children's lives," says Sam Ludington.
A role these loved ones are anxious for them to fulfill.
"I can only talk to him over the phone and ask for a hug over the phone, a kiss over the phone so this is like a dream come true for me," says Stanford's fiance, Mitchelle Joy.
"I'm mostly excited to have some father son time that we missed out on over the years," Darron adds.