Eighth-grade WES student Samantha Jensen weeps as she is embraced by her brother, Pfc. Tyler Jensen, who surprised her by coming to her classroom. The 20-year-old soldier is on leave, following his deployment in Afghanistan. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
April 03, 2013WHITEFIELD — When Samantha Jensen returned to her eighth-grade classroom from her trip to the main office on Wednesday afternoon, she found her brother Pfc. Tyler Jensen sitting at her desk.
As she ran toward him crying with happiness, he leapt from the chair and enfolded his sister in his embrace, lifting her off the floor. Pfc. Jensen recently returned to the West Coast from a six-month deployment in Afghanistan.
The siblings hugged, then stepped apart to look at one another, and then hugged again.
Pfc. Jensen's mother and father, Cindy and Brian Jensen of Dalton, were on hand along with their two other sons — Brian Jr., a 2009 graduate of Kearsarge Regional High School in North Sutton and 18-year-old Chris, a WMRHS junior. The Jensen's older daughter, Leslie who lives in Portsmouth, could not be there.
Pfc. Jensen, who graduated from Kearsarge in 2010, started basic training on Jan. 10, 2012. The 20-year-old soldier explained briefly that he had spent six months deployed to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, where he worked to train the Afghan Police and Army. He returned to Fort Lewis, Wash., and now is on a three-week leave in the Granite State.
"We have been fortunate that our children are very close to each other," Jensen Sr. said in an e-mail exchange that evening. "We lived on pins and needles while Ty was deployed. It is nice to have him home."
Pfc. Jensen's parents arranged Samantha's surprise by working with Whitefield School principal Michael Cronin, who in turn choreographed the event with the help of his office staff and Language Arts-reading teacher Michelle Cote, who started teaching at WES in the fall.