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Carnegie/Bridgeville

Carnegie Elementary 11-year-old gets surprise visit from brother stationed in Germany

Bobby Cherry
| Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, 5:39 p.m.
Carnegie Elementary sixth-grader Damon Chiodo was surprised to see his brother, Devin Tomei, on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, at the Carnegie school. Tomei, an Army helicopter mechanic, hasn’t seen his family in more than 2 1/2 years. But that all changed after Damon completed an essay in his language arts class answering the question “Who is my hero?”
Michale Herrmann | Carlynton School District
Carnegie Elementary sixth-grader Damon Chiodo was surprised to see his brother, Devin Tomei, on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, at the Carnegie school. Tomei, an Army helicopter mechanic, hasn’t seen his family in more than 2 1/2 years. But that all changed after Damon completed an essay in his language arts class answering the question “Who is my hero?”

Carnegie Elementary sixth-grader Damon Chiodo was surprised to see his brother, Devin Tomei, on Friday morning at the Carnegie school.

Tomei, stationed in Germany as an Army helicopter mechanic, hadn't seen his family in more than 2 12 years. But that all changed after Damon completed an essay in his language arts class answering the question “Who is my hero?”

“My hero is my brother, Devin Tomei,” 11-year-old Damon wrote.

Tomei surprised Damon with a visit, traveling from Germany to Baltimore and eventually to Pittsburgh.

Damon's teacher Cynthia Bevan had students read their essays before a small audience in the school's auditorium. Once Damon finished reading about his hero, his brother made the surprise appearance.

“Damon screamed, jumped into his brother's arms and then sobbed,” district spokeswoman Michale Herrmann said. “He was so surprised. He hasn't seen his brother since third grade.”

Tomei's visit with family will be brief. He will head out to Fort Campbell in Kentucky at the end of October.

Damon ended his essay by highlighting the respect and admiration he holds for his older sibling: “My brother is brave and smart. He is always there for me, even if I just want to talk. I am very proud of him for choosing to protect me, and everyone in the United States. He is not just my brother. He is also my friend.”

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