Children have their heroes. Whether it’s a fictional character portrayed by an actor in a series of action flicks, a sports figure, a cool uncle, the president of the United States, or even one of their teachers, they all have someone they look up to.
These role models are important for instilling the proper values in the pliable minds of the young people who mimic their every move. To the children who want to be just like them when they grow up, they can do no wrong.
Perhaps the greatest of all these worship-worthy figureheads, at least for any young boy, is their older brother. This holds especially true if there happens to be more than a few years of age difference between them.
Damon Chiodo, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Carnegie Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had not seen his big brother, Army Specialist Devin Tomei, for more than a few days at a time since Tomei left for Army basic training in March 2015. Damon worships the ground his older sibling walks on.
After completing his basic training, Devin was shipped off to Germany where he worked on CH-47 Chinook helicopters. The brothers stayed in contact through Skype and Xbox, but outside of this, they did not get to see one another.
Damon was given a school assignment to write an essay about his hero. As expected, he chose to write the essay about his brother.
What Damon did not know was that the assignment was not real. It had been planned by his teacher and the school’s principal.
When Devin found out the Army was reassigning him stateside to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, he told his mother he was coming home, and she set a plan in action. Devin was immediately on board.
As Damon stood on stage and began reading his essay, little did he know his older brother was hiding behind the curtain. Devin stood backstage for 15 minutes listening to Damon as he read, “Hundreds of Army missions depend on these helicopters, and my brother must make sure that all of them are safe and ready to fly.”
At the end of his speech, Damon turned around and found himself face-to-face with the hero he had just told his class about. His face held a stunned expression as he quickly leaped into his Devin’s arms.
Devin, 25, said he was trying hard not to cry in front of a room of sixth-graders. “He was begging me to come home most of the time, telling me about all the stuff he’s doing,” Devin explained.
After reading his essay, Damon was released from school for the rest of the day to spend time with his hero. Though Devin will be stationed in Kentucky, which is still a good distance away, he will be able to get home more often.
In a testament to his older brother, Damon sent a recent post to television host, Ellen DeGeneres. It reads: “Hey Ellen I was wondering if you knew me. I’m Damon Chiodo from the national news and I was wondering if I could show them what happened and have a conversation.
“I have always wanted to meet you and I think I can show you some things me and my brother like to do and show everyone the resemblance cause everyone always said that if I was born with Devin we would be twins but I think it would be a surprise for Devin to be able to see you because of him surprising me I want to surprise him.”
What a wonderful example of brotherly love. Their parents clearly raised them right!