U.S. Marine makes surprise visit to little sister's basketball game in Mission

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It will be a special Veterans Day for two sisters in Mission.

At the age of 18, Suzette Vela enlisted in the U.S. Marines. She was in town on Thursday for the first time in two years after spending time in Okinawa, Japan.

Vela said she knew her family would be excited to see her, but it was the bond with her little sister that stays with her no matter where she is.  

“She tells me all these crazy stories about her and her friends, so she makes me laugh, it just makes me feel 100% better at the end of the day,” Vela said. “I'm so close with my sister and she's always telling me, ‘why did you leave me, you left me here by myself.’ So I just wanted to surprise her 'cuz I miss her." 

Vela’s sister is 12-year-old Hazel Rodriguez. 

The Rafael A. Cantu Junior High School student had her first district basketball game on Thursday, the perfect moment for Vela to see her baby sister.

Vela said the last two years without her sister were tough because they spent so much time together. They’ve tried to stay connected through video chat as much as they can, but the 14-hour time difference makes it hard. 

“I've been missing her,” Rodriguez said. “I talk to my friends about her all the time. I talk to my teachers about her, and I’m always just thinking about her. She's like a mom to me."

Both sisters said they have plans to catch up for the next few weeks, and do some of their favorite things again. 

Watch the video above for the full story. 


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