An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Brothers for life: 2 Airmen grew up in same orphanage

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dalton Williams, 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.-- “I stuck my hand out to shake his hand and he threw his walker out of the way and gave me a huge hug.”

This is what Senior Airman Sharrdan Long, 375th Medical Support Squadron MRI technologist recalled from meeting retired Chief Master Sgt. Fernando Calvarese for the first time. Airmen Long would have never imagined finding one of his “brothers” during a typical day in the office. Little did he know that a routine medical appointment was about to blossom into a lifelong bond.

“I met him after I was taking an X-ray of his wife,” said Long. “I never take X-rays anymore, but I wanted to help out the X-ray team because they were busy that day.”

When she noticed a Hershey candy bar glued to his medical badge she mentioned that her husband went to an orphanage for underprivileged youth in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He couldn’t believe it.

“I freaked out. After finding out that we went to the exact same orphanage, I was blabbing about how crazy it is that I met her. I told her that she had to bring in her husband next time.”

The orphanage is intertwined through the best moments of Long’s life. The orphanage took him in when he needed it the most and is where he met his wife of 13 years.

“I immediately called my wife to tell her that I met a Milton Hershey School alumni and to immediately find my class ring,” said Long. “The next day, the phone rang and someone told me, ‘there’s an older man here who’s saying he’s your brother, I think he might be out of it.’”

I walked down and untucked my necklace with my class ring on it so that he could see it. As I walked up, I heard him yell ‘get over here you little rascal!’ I stuck my hand out to shake his hand and he threw his walker out of the way and gave me a huge hug. From then on, we talked about our stories and how we ended up there.”

No matter the different paths each other has taken through life, brothers are reunited once again.

“When you leave Milton Hershey you think you’ll never find that camaraderie again,” said Long. “I’m so thankful that I found one of my brothers here at Scott.”