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Updated Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 07/04/12
A HAPPY REUNION. Above, Ashley Myers cries tears of joy as she and her brother, Joe, give their biggest brother, Aaron, a huge hug. Aaron surprised his youngest siblings with a trip home after finishing his training with the Navy. He picked them up from the Summer Bonanza program at Washington Elementary on June 26. Below, Aaron hugs his mom, Brenda, and sister, Ashley, after springing the surprise. Aaron said he has 17 days of leave before heading to Japan for a two-year deployment.
(Observer photos by Chris Gray)
Local soldier surprises
siblings with trip home
by CHRIS GRAYFew eyes were dry at Washington Elementary as a big brother surprised his siblings with a trip home from the Navy.
Observer Staff Writer
Ashley Myers, 8, and her younger twin siblings, Joe and Maegan, were waiting for their parents to pick them up as the Parks and Recreation Department's Summer Bonanza program finished for the day on June 26.
Unbeknownst to them, their parents, Joe and Brenda, had a surprise. Joe revealed they weren't the only ones picking them up, and told them to turn around.
Standing in the entrance to the gym was their oldest brother, Aaron, dressed in uniform and back home from his military training.
Tears filled the eyes of onlookers as Ashley ran to him and gave him a big hug, her own tears of joy streaming down her cheeks as they embraced.
It was the first time the Washington Township family united since Aaron's departure on March 14 for boot camp in Illinois, and then to Florida for advanced training.
Aaron, a 2006 Romeo High School graduate, came up with the idea while talking with his parents about coming back home. He said it went much better than he had hoped after seeing his family's reaction.
"You couldn't really describe it<walking in and, you know, your dad is your hero, so seeing your dad kind of tearing up it's like `oh my goodness,'" he said.
He said he was excited to see Ashley's reaction, as the two had tried to communicate as much as possible while he was away.
He had no problem admitting he missed his family, using the Internet along with phone calls to talk with them during his training.
"When I called (Ashley) during boot camp I couldn't even talk," Aaron said.
Ashley was a bit overwhelmed to speak, but nodded emphatically when asked if she was happy her brother was home.
"She misses her big brother more than anything in the whole wide world," Brenda said while hugging her.
Brenda recounted how Ashley and Aaron could barely speak when he called her from boot camp for the first time, as both were in tears missing one another.
"All of our kids are all very, very close, so when Aaron left for boot camp that was hard, because that was like no phone calls, no e-mails," Brenda said.
Aaron is on a 17-day leave before having to report to the naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, where he will be deployed on the USS George Washington for the next two years. He said he hopes to rise in rank during his time on board.
Joe said it'll be tough when he leaves, so the family may have to take a trip to Japan to visit.
"Two years, that's too long to be away from any of my kids," he said.
In the meantime, the family had plenty of plans to take advantage of those 17 days, from barbecues to simply enjoying some time together.
"No military time, no military schedule, just relax," Aaron said. "Family time."