West Middlesex Junior-Senior High students gathered for a rally of encouragement to honor the hard work of their basketball teams, including the 2016 Big Reds’ Girls District Champions.

So morale was already there.

But things were about to get a lot more exciting for Hustle of the Year Award winner Katie Richards.

Katie’s brother Matthew Drapola, a U.S. Army sergeant and military police officer, has served in Afghanistan for 11 months.

The surprise was well scripted, but Katie had no idea what was going to happen.

“Katie for your hard work and dedication within the team, we would like to introduce you again to someone who worked hard and kept us safe. Ladies and gentlemen from Afghanistan, brother of Katie, Matthew Drapola. “

As Katie turns around, she sees her older brother, grabs him, hugs him and bursts into tears.

“Are you fine?” Matthew asks him.

Katie says, “Yeah, I can’t believe you’re here!”

The crowd of students and teachers stand up and applaud, happy to see a brother and sister reunited and eager to thank Matthew for his service to his country.

Now a young girl who says she worries about her brother every day can rest easy because he is home and here to stay.

“It’s amazing. I’ve been waiting for him to come home forever,” Katie said.