Boys Basketball

Garner basketball player surprised by brother returning from deployment

Posted February 11, 2016

— For weeks Nick Kuhns has been planning a return for his brother, United States Army Specialist Max Kuhns.

Max has spent the last nine months deployed in Qatar, providing intelligence support for troops serving in Afghanistan. He had leave time to use and he was ready to come home – just not when Nick thought.

While Nick thought he was working with Max on a plan to surprise their parents, the real surprise was for Nick.

"I really, really, really don’t want him to be mad at me because I’ve lied to him and told him that I’m coming in tomorrow," Max said with a laugh.

Garner honored their seniors on Thursday night before its final regular season home game against Rolesville. Each senior was called out one-by-one. The last name called was Nick Kuhns.

Kuhns walked with his parents to half court. Then it was time for the surprise. Max walked into the gym from the opposite side and two brothers hugged for the first time since Christmas 2014.

"I’ve been thinking about this the entire year. I only get two and a half leave days a month from the military, and I’ve been thinking about what I was going to spend it on," Max said. "This is his moment. I wanted him to remember this is his senior night – his last home high school game – I wanted him to bask in his moment, to enjoy it, because he’s earned it. "

It was certainly a moment both brothers will remember. As they met on the floor the fans in gym gave a standing ovation.

"I was pretty shocked. It's so good to have him back home. I've missed him," Nick said.

Garner High School is not an unusual place for Max. He played high school basketball for the Trojans and graduated from Garner before moving on to the Army. But he'll tell you Nick is the better athlete.

"After eighth grade he started beating me (in basketball). I’m a varsity basketball player and this little kid is beating me. That’s when I realized he was going to be a much better player than me one day. He just kept growing. He works his tail off, so I know that everything he’s done, he’s earned it, it hasn’t been given to him," Max said.

Hard work is something Max has tried to teach Nick too.

"I tell him all the time, if you want to get something in life you have to work for it, you’re never going to be given anything. That’s what the Army’s taught me – if you want something, you have to go out and get it," said Max.

Max will spend two weeks at home with Nick and his family before returning to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he will finish out his time with the Army. Next fall, Max plans to attend college at Coastal Carolina University where he will study national security intelligence.

More to come...


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  • sing2god Feb 12, 2016

    Welcome home Max and thank you for how hard you have worked to keep us all safe. Well done Nick, you are a great example of what hard work will produce.

  • tmstubbs63 Feb 12, 2016

    How cool is this? Awesome!!!

  • batchelor284 Feb 12, 2016

    Great, great story. This is a testament to the love shared by the Kuhn family.

  • pwayscue Feb 11, 2016

    Welcome Home US Army Specialist Max Kuhns (Trojan class of 2012) We are very proud of your service to our country