A young soldier from Minot has returned home to make the surprise of a lifetime.

Friday was a normal day for most students at Nedrose Public School in Minot — but one student was in for a huge surprise.

Emmy Azure is a sixth grader who hasn’t seen her brother, Everett, in weeks. In fact, it had been since Easter Sunday just before her brother went off to basic training.

Although Private First Class Everett Azure had no sleep in the last 48 hours, he couldn’t wait to surprise his sister.

“Oddly enough, I was more excited to surprise her than come back home,” said Everett. “That was one of the things that got me through the last couple of weeks at basic training.”

Emmy was so excited that her brother was back that she was at a loss for words.

When Emmy was asked what she was most excited to do with her brother now that he was back, she responded, “I don’t really know.”

Their mom, Renee Belgarde, said keeping the secret was difficult.

“It was really hard to keep a secret because we live, we’re so close together and that’s my little girl,” said Belgarde. “She’s always around me all the time.”

Emmy said being away from her brother upset her.

“That was kinda upsetting with him really far away,” said Emmy. “Because he was that part of the family that calms things down.”

Renee said the hardest call happened when her son landed at Fort Leonard Wood.

“The first call that they get when they first land can they can only say like three sentences to you when they first land,” said Belgarde. “That they’re safe, they have arrived and they’ll call you in a few weeks.”

Everett said being away from his family wasn’t easy for him either.

“They’re always in the back of my head, basically,” said Everett. “But at the same time it’s like I have to focus on the now and what’s going on and take everything day by day.”

Renee said she isn’t sure if or when her son is getting deployed but that comes with having family in the military.

“It’s just been the hardest thing ever for all of us,” said Belgarde. But, now that he’s home, we’re just trying to transition a little bit and then we’ll go from there.”

While the news of deployment is uncertain, one thing is for sure — the family is making up for the time they were apart.

Welcome back home, Everett!