Published December 10, 2011
New York – Eight year old Emilio Pereira felt anxious as he started his school day in his third grade class on Friday.
His brother, Arturo Velasquez, has been in Afghanistan for eight months and is enlisted for two more years in the Marines. Emilio clearly worries about him, reports MyFoxNY.
"I am worried he'll get hurt or get dead because I'm not sure," Emilio said. "I don't get to see him."
When asked what his brother was doing in Afghanistan, "He' fighting bad people there, " he responded.
He and his third grade class were preparing to see his big brother through the school computer and Skype.
But teachers at Freeport's Giblyn School had a special surprise up their sleeves.
The class got to meet Emilio's big brother not in a chat room, but live, in person in their classroom. Arturo is back for a 30-day leave and arrived home without telling his brother.
Sonia Pereira, from El Salvador, is very proud of her son in the Marines. She and the teachers arranged the secret plans to deliver Emilio with his ultimate Christmas gift.
There was not a dry eye in the room as Emilio and Arturo shared smiles and a long embrace.
Arturo is enlisted for another two years and has no idea where he will be deployed next, but the third graders of Giblyn elementary promised to continue to write to him and send him care packages and prayers.