CYPRESS — It had been four months since Camden Handy last saw his younger brother, and the reunion needed to be special for the Cypress Falls High School graduate.
Now a private first class in the U.S. Army, Handy made a special appearance at Horne Elementary School on Oct. 13 to surprise his 10-year-old brother, Kyle, at the end of the day. And with the help of family and campus staff, the siblings were reunited and shared an emotional embrace after Kyle recognized the uniformed soldier.
“He’s my everything and his happiness is my No. 1 priority,” Pfc. Handy said. “So, to be able to see him smile when he saw me was my world.”
Added Kyle: “I was happy when I saw my brother. I’m proud of him. He did this to protect me.”
Pfc. Handy, who graduated from Cypress Falls in 2018, joined the military during the COVID-19 pandemic, and followed non-traditional protocols including the lack of a traditional farewell or embrace from family when he left for basic training. Upon graduation, there wasn’t a chance to return home—Pfc. Handy reported to his duty station at Fort Carson, Colo.
His family visited, but approximately 10 months had passed since everyone was together.
Until Pfc. Handy’s layered surprise.
“I surprised my mom first,” Pfc. Handy said. “That was great. She saw my older brother standing in the pool and didn’t really know what was going on until she saw my dad and sister. She asked where I was and I came up behind her and gave her a hug. She started crying.”
Then came the reunion at Horne. Kyle was led out to the car-rider line, where Pfc. Handy walked out from around a white SUV. The two hugged and posed for photos.
“He motivates me every day at work,” Pfc. HandyandHandy said. “You wake up and maybe you’re not feeling it, but then you think about what you’re doing it for and who you’re doing it for. Being a role model for him is everything.
“Hopefully he can look up to me and get something from this.”
The Handy family ended its day with one more reveal—Pfc. Handy surprised his grandparents of his being home before the entire family went out to dinner to celebrate.
“My family is 100 percent the No. 1 thing in my heart,” he said. “They mean the world to me and they support me.”