Sixth grader Damon Chiodo was asked to write an essay about his personal hero for school. For the 11-year-old boy, that was an easy pick. His big brother, Devon Tomei, is a soldier serving as a helicopter mechanic in the United States Army, and he is absolutely Damon’s hero.
It was a touching and personal essay that Damon wrote about his brother — something anyone would be proud to hear, especially a sibling. The only problem with that was the fact that Devon was stationed in Germany. In fact, the two brothers hadn’t seen each other in over two years.
So, in spite of the distance between Damon and Devon, the sixth grader got up in front of his class and read his essay out loud in honor of his hero and brother, the soldier.
Damon said in his essay, “My brother is brave and smart. He is always there for me, even if I just want to talk. I am very proud of him for choosing to protect me, and everyone in the United States. He is not just my brother. He is also my friend.”
“Who is my hero? My hero is my brother,” Damon said as he started reading his essay in front of his fellow sixth graders.
Before he had even started reading his essay, he was beaming with joy. That’s because Damon had won the school’s essay contest with the prize of sharing his essay out loud. That was something he was very proud to do — proud to share his admiration for his brother in the Army.
When Damon was finished reading his amazing essay, he turned to walk off the stage. What happened next was nothing short of incredible.
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Army Specialist Devon Tomei walked right onto the stage and simply said, “Hey, buddy” as his younger brother turned.
Damon couldn’t contain his excitement at seeing his brother for the first time in over two years. He jumped up and gave his brother a huge hug!
Devon, who travelled all the way from Germany to Pittsburg just to surprise his brother, was just as happy and excited. The icing on the cake: the school gave Damon the rest of the day off school just so he could spend time with his brother.
Watch the amazing surprise reunion between brothers in the video below!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.