BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- It was a sweet surprise Friday afternoon in Blue Springs, just in time for Valentine’s Day. A brother and sister were reunited at William Bryant Elementary School after more than a year a part.
Twenty-year-old Hakan Demirbas surprised his 8-year-old sister after completing a Navy deployment.
“I don’t even know how to describe it. It was a happy moment,” Demirbas's sister, Elise Smith, said.
Demirbas joined the Navy straight out of high school. He was deployed in December 2018, which was also the last time he saw his family.
"We did a world tour, which meant we left from the east coast and went all the way around the world, to the west coast,” Demirbas said. “It was a struggle. I had little pictures and stuff, and sometimes I would call them whenever I could.”
Even though there's a 12-year age difference, the distance of both time and space couldn't stop the bond between this brother-and-sister duo.
Elise’s teachers even joined in on the surprise.
“She always get excited. She’s written books about him before," Elise’s teacher, Maggie LaBoube, said.
"We’ve known her heartache and excitement to see him because she has always talked about how long it’s been since she’s seen him and just that she can’t wait to get to see him and hug him, so we were really excited for her to get this opportunity."
Demirbas called the moment one of the highlight’s of his life. Elise is already planning to catch him up on all the lost time.
“We were planning on taking pictures and having a family picnic and stuff,” Smith said.
Demirbas will be home for two weeks.