AUBURN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Auburn resident Kristen Reilly couldn’t believe the unexpected Facebook post. It featured her son Nate and stepson Sean, both in the Air Force and deployed on separate secret missions.
They were united in an undisclosed location. Sean writes “giving you a simple hug today will forever be a treasured memory of mine.”
“Both being deployed and moving all the time, with missions, he said it was a one in a million chance that would happen. To meet up in the same place,” Reilly said.
Reilly got another surprise earlier in the week, tied to one of the worst days of her life, three years ago. when Nate’s car crashed into a tree.
“Someone in that home called. He was transferred to Upstate. He needed emergency surgery, as soon as he got there pretty much. So it was really life or death,” Reilly recounted.
Reilly has passed by the tree countless times, while on her way to work. A storm recently took it down. On the week that would have marked three years since the accident, she noticed a man cutting up what was left of the tree. This was the first she ever saw anyone outside of the house.
She pulled over. The man remembered the crash, and her son.
“They had often wondered, obviously, how he made out. So I gratefully told him that he, after some time in the hospital and recuperating at home, that he had made a full recovery and has served two years in the Air Force,” Reilly said. What the man said next gave her chills.
“He said, so, what you’re saying is you need a piece of that wood, as we were there standing around the tree,” Reilly continued.
A piece for her, and a piece for Nate.
“The piece of wood that I have resembles, symbolizes the devastation that could have been and certainly the gratitude that I have for what is now,” Reilly said.