Soldier surprises brother at school

Posted By: Sarah Fili

Brandon Dunlap enlisted in the army and shipped out to basic training in July. Fast forward 6 months– now he’s training at Fort Sam Houston in Texas to become a combat medic. Just when he thought he’d be stuck on base for Christmas, he found out he’d be getting a pass back home to the Good Life.

"I about had a heart attack, and I was extremely happy, like words really can’t describe how bad I wanted to come back,” Private Brandon Dunlap said.

So he did what any other soldier would– planned a surprise. He started the day at Norris Middle School to see his little sister Gillian. Her classmates chanted “U.S.A.” as he surprised her.

"I was walking up to my friends because they were getting my attention because I usually zone people out and he yelled hey at me and I turned around and he was there,” Gillian Sanderson said.

His next stop? To pick up his little brother, a kindergartener at Norris Elementary.

"Honestly it’s hard to describe I want to see him probably more than anything,” Dunlap said.

"It felt really good and I didn’t expect this my mom and dad tricked me,” Zach Sanderson said.

Brandon’s mom says as they were planning for Christmas, Zach wrote a letter to Santa—but forgot to ask him to bring Brandon home! So she said if they saw Santa, they’d be sure to ask him then. Norris Elementary had planned for Santa to make a trip to the school Wednesday and had just the present for Zach and his family.

“Oh my goodness, best Christmas ever, yeah,” Amy Sanderson, Brandon’s mom said.

Brandon gets to spend twelve days in Nebraska before heading back to training. After that, he’ll be back in the capital city working with the National Guard.