Jesse Arthur walked into Ms. Washington’s fourth-grade class Tuesday at Isabella School, planning to return his books. He crossed the room to where his classmates were gathered in front of a desk and gave his teacher a hug.
Then he froze.
Sitting behind the desk was his brother, Marine Lance Cpl. Devin Brooks, who had recently returned home from a 6-month tour in Iraq.
Jesse’s family had kept Brooks’ return secret, hoping to surprise him at his school.
“We wanted to make this moment special for Jesse,” his mother, Rebecca Arthur, said.
Brooks and Jesse were all smiles as they embraced, Jesse still surprised at his brother’s presence.
“I knew there was somebody behind there,” Jesse said. “I knew something was fishy going on.”
Brooks said he liked the idea of surprising Jesse at school.
“I just couldn’t wait to see his face and see what he’d say,” Brooks said.
While Brooks and his brother did communicate during his stay in Iraq, Rebecca said Jesse would constantly ask ‘When’s Devin coming home?’
“Devin is just a huge part of Jesse’s life,” Rebecca said. “Devin is Jesse’s hero.”
Rebecca said Jesse talks about his brother with his classmates and wants to join the military when he gets older.
“That’s all Jesse ever talks about – military and all,” Jesse’s father, Von, said.
Now that the brothers are reunited, they have a few things to do.
Brooks said they might play paintball, and they have a family beach trip planned.
Brooks also had a trunk of his things sent home when he returned to the United States, which Rebecca said Jesse has been dying to open.
Rebecca said she was pleased at the surprise reunion.
“It was fabulous,” Rebecca said. “He had no clue when he was home.”