Jared is more than Jonah’s big brother. He’s also his best friend. But while Jared serves in the Air Force on one side of the globe, Jared remains on the other side. And faces bone cancer and the loss of part of his right leg.
There’s a change coming in their lives, though: Jonah will soon leave to visit his brother at Misawa Air Base. When they see each other again, they both feel better about everything in their lives. Jared will feel more focused and less worried, while Jonah will feel like the obstacles he faces aren’t so insurmountable.
“I was a mess.”
Jonah’s outlook was poor while Jared was at technical training. It took its toll on Jared.
“When I got to call him after surgery and I heard how much pain he was in, I was devastated,” Jared told a military publication. “It was hard, but knowing that there are better times to come ... that's what I'm looking forward to."
Air Force Steps Forward as a Family
Two days before Jonah arrives at Misawa Air Base, Jared’s first sergeant learns about the imminent Make-A-Wish visit. Senior Master Sergeant Harry Nichols understands the situation better than anyone expects – because he lost two immediate family members to cancer.
He’s soon in contact with other units on-base to arrange behind-the-scenes tours and activities for Jonah. By the time Jonah arrives, Nichols has arranged for military working dog demonstrations, a close-up look at an F-16 Viper, a simulated parachute jump and a handful of other demonstrations.
"I care about all people," Nichols says. "It's amazing the support we got for this, all the credit goes to those guys (who put this together). I'm just happy I could facilitate some of this."
Reunion Lifts the Entire Base
Jared is overwhelmed by the welcome his brother received. It strengthens the bonds with his fellow Air Force personnel to an entirely new level.
"They've sacrificed the time out of their busy schedules to show a few cool things to my family – it really means a lot to me," Jared says. "I like just having time with my family, but the few days we got to spend with my Air Force means a lot to me, too. The Air Force is a good family to have."
Jonah was quick to dole out hugs to his new family, no matter how brief their encounters.
“A few years ago I started asking if people needed a hug or anything because sometimes (people) have a bad day, but they just don't show it," Jonah says. "You may not even realize it, but you may have made their day that much better."