There’s something to be said for the special bond between family members. It seems no matter how long we’re apart, I can always count on my family to be there to support me unlike anyone else.
When 11-year-old Damon Chiodo walked in to his Carnegie Elementary School assembly in September 2017, he had no idea what was waiting for him behind the wings.
He’d entered an essay he’d written about his hero in a contest, but Damon couldn’t have known the prize for winning was so priceless.
Of three essays chosen, the 6th grader’s name was called third and he excitedly walked up on stage. He then read his winning essay proudly — an essay written about his big brother Devin Tomei.
Tomei is a helicopter mechanic and U.S. Army Specialist who had been in Germany, miles and miles away from his family, for over two years.
As Damon spoke of his big brother’s friendship and bravery, he didn’t even notice that someone else had joined him on stage.
As he moved to return to his seat, Damon’s path was blocked by his hero in the flesh. The look on this little brother’s face is something I’m sure his family will never forget.
The brothers embraced, both obviously filled with emotion. What a perfect moment to catch on camera.
“I have my family back together right now,” their mom, Renee Ciletti, said. “Even if it is just for a short time.”
It was a day to celebrate and enjoy family time. Damon was given a school holiday, with no tests and no make-up work to worry about.
“He’s always been there for me my entire life,” Chiodo shared. His brother shared the sentiment when he commented, “I only have one brother… I love him to death.”
Though the family only had one day to spend together, I have no doubt they will cherish that short time as a gift for years to come. I could watch this video over and over if only to watch Damon’s reaction — it gives me goosebumps every time.
What a heartwarming memory. For those of us who see our families every day, the brothers’ story is the perfect example of how much we take for granted, and a solid reminder that every moment is a gift — even if that moment is just one day.
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