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Bringing a veteran coach to tears

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (WXIA) -- A story we witnessed on a football field this Friday night brought a veteran coach to tears. Tears of joy, at halftime, a lifetime in the making. To his surprise, in front of everyone.

It was the end of halftime at the Tucker-Alcovy game. An assistant coach with Tucker High School was just leaving the locker room with the players to start the third quarter, when a lifelong dream suddenly appeared before his eyes and walked into his arms.

During the first half, and at any of the games, anyone watching Tucker High School assistant football coach Robby Gilbert in action will see a man in full -- a thankful man at the top of his game, doing what he loves for others. And happily married with two young children.

What you would not see is his heartache.

His mother died last year. And Robby Gilbert, having been adopted as an infant, decided he would try to find and meet his birth mother, nearly 40 years after he was born.

Three weeks ago, with the help of the adoption agency, they connected, on the phone. They planned to meet in person -- next week.

But Robby Gilbert's wife, Amy, had other ideas. She decided to move that meeting up a week, without telling him. She brought his birth mom, Tish Myatt, who was a single teen mom so long ago -- brought her from her home in Kentucky to the game, so she could see her first-born in action, to see what he had grown up to be for so many others, and to surprise him.

As Gilbert walked out of the locker room, he spotted Amy, and then the small crowd, and then Tish Myatt. And they embraced and wept, as everyone cheered.

"It's a dream come true," Gilbert said a few minutes later. "I'm just happy. I'm happy."

"I don't have words," Myatt said. "Overwhelmed. And so blessed."

How often has Myatt thought of Robby – and this night?

"Every day of my life. Every day of my life. Everyday of my life. I could not be more blessed with this human being."

Robby Gilbert also met his younger half-brother-and-sister -- born to Myatt after she grew up and got married.

Out of loss and heartache, the chance for a new family out of two -- the beginning of a new journey-of-a-lifetime.

Next month, Gilbert will turn 40. He and Myatt are looking forward to celebrating his birthday together.