September 10, 2013

Emotional reunion: Soldier surprises younger sibling

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — An East Bernstadt stduent got a very special surprise Friday afternoon during a special assembly in the school’s library, which left him and his family in tears.

Nate Smith, a fourth grader, was among fourth and fifth graders called into the school library for a special assembly.  However, Nate was the only person in the room that didn’t know the real reason for the assembly.

Nate’s brother, Kevin Smith, a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, was hiding around a corner to surprise him.

LCpl Smith, a small arms repairer/technician in the Marines, has been away from home training for a deployment to an undisclosed area that he will be leaving for sometime next month.  Prior to leaving for the deployment, he plotted with his mother and stepmother to surprise his little brother Nate, who he hasn’t seen in more than eight months.

Shocked and brought to tears, Nate held tightly to his brother refusing to let go, saying, “Nobody can take my brother away again.”

Kevin, a former North Laurel High School student and JROTC cadet, has been serving in the Marines for the last year and a half and is stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.  He will be on home on leave until Sept. 21.

“I’ll be here until the 21st,” Kevin Smith said.  “Then it’s back to Lejeune.  From now until then, I’m going to hang out with Nate and spend as much time with my family as I possibly can.”

Kevin’s stepmother, Jequita Smith said she expects the brothers will pick right back up where they left off before Kevin left to go serve his country.  She went on to say the brothers enjoy playing video games together, a hobby that they shared long before their separation.

“I told my mom that everyone in my family combined cannot compare to my brother Kevin,” said Nate.  “He’s my hero.”

“Nate would always ask us questions about his brother,” Lequita Smith said.  “He’d ask where his brother was, when he would be coming home, it was pretty much constant. “

“We are very proud of Kevin,” mother Latanya said.  “We’re glad that he’s home, even if it’s not for that long.”