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Lockwood soldier surprises little brother before deployment

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Posted at 11:20 PM, Oct 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-06 12:24:54-04

An eighth grader at Eileen Johnson Middle School in Lockwood had not seen his brother since the Spring and did not expect to see him again for another year because his big brother is going to be deployed in Romania.

But the family set up a special reunion right after school.

Skailur Foos almost didn't recognize his big brother, Private 2nd Class Kelby Zhang.

When school let out, Foos ran to his brother.

"It was amazing," Foos said. "It was amazing. I never thought he would have been home today."

Zhang last saw his little brother when he was a seventh grader and he has grown taller.

"He definitely has," Zhang said. "Voice changed a lot too."

Zhang joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Senior High School and was inspired by his great-grandfather.

"I looked up to my great-grandpa a lot," Zhang said. "And he was kind of like my childhood hero."

As a kid, Zhang was a Young Marine.

When he graduated from basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the Army had brought back the same style of uniform his grandfather wore during his graduation in the 1940s.

And Zhang ended up picking the same job.

"We were both 13 Bravo's cannon crew member field artillery," said Zhang.

Kendra Brown, the mother and Joyce Mitzel, the grandmother helped orchestrate the big surprise because of the closeness of Kelby and Skailur.

"Skailur really missed his big brother and it's been hard with his brother being in the military and gone," said Brown. "He doesn't have his go-to person, which is his big brother."

"Yea, it was emotional," Mitzel said. "I was trying to keep this a secret from Skailur, and it wasn't easy."

"I think it's awesome that my older brother is serving the country," Foos said.

"Everybody's sacrificing time with family and all of us getting a chance to come home before leaving and everything is really nice," Zhang said. "And being able to see my little brother before I leave, that's really nice."