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Siblings Reunite in an Unlikely Place

Thousands of miles from home, a brother arrives at the American Red Cross office in anticipation of seeing his little sister.

Both are in Iraq, serving their country in different capacities. First Lt. Matthew Wolfe is en route to his final destination and has only seven hours at his sister’s installation. His younger sister, Katheryn Wolfe, is currently deployed to Iraq as an assistant station manager for the Red Cross.

When Katheryn first arrived, she expected to see her brother within a week, as he was going to be spending a few days at her deployment station. However, plans changed, and Katheryn did not get to have the reunion she had hoped for.

She kept her fingers crossed over the Thanksgiving holiday, hoping that her brother would swing through the Red Cross doors and surprise her with a visit. Looking back to when those plans also fell through, Katheryn recalls, "After strike number two, I decided not to get excited anymore!"

Still, shifting schedules did not get in the way of Wolfe’s mission to see his sister. On the morning of December 15, Katheryn received a most welcome surprise. "When I least expected it, [Matthew] showed up at the office," Katheryn said.

When Katheryn arrived at the Red Cross building, Wolfe was well hidden in the Legacy Room. As the door opened, he stepped out and Katheryn's face lit up, radiating with surprise and joy. She leapt towards her brother and threw her arms around him in a warm embrace. When asked to stand together to pose for a picture, Wolfe playfully swung his arm around Katheryn's shoulder and squeezed her tight.

Katheryn telephoned her father back in the U.S. and casually asked him to sign onto Skype for a chat. When her father connected with Katheryn on the computer, he was pleasantly surprised to find both his daughter and son, sharing a precious family moment in the Legacy Room of the American Red Cross.

While Wolfe rested on the sofa of the day room, enjoying his favorite movie, Katheryn was a few feet away, brewing fresh coffee and baking a loaf of honey whole wheat bread. It was a rare opportunity to welcome a loved one into the Red Cross office, inviting him to kick back and relax while providing him the comforts of home—all while inside the perimeter of a military base, in the midst of a war zone. "He slept a while, but just knowing he was down the hall lifted my spirits," Katheryn said.

Later in the morning, a few of Wolfe's colleagues arrived at the office. Before they headed to the terminal to fly out, Katheryn put together a bag of goodies and sent them on their way with a loaf of warm, freshly baked bread in hand. "It's great to see family when you're in the middle of Iraq. I tried to come down at Thanksgiving. [But] seeing the smile on my sister's face when I surprised her at the Red Cross office was awesome," said Wolfe.