Special message

Sheffield’s Lexi Lyon honored on Senior Night by big brother serving in Kuwait

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Sheffield volleyball senior Lexi Lyon sheds a tear after realizing she was looking at a live video feed of her brother, Army Staff Sgt. Chris Lyon, during senior night at Sheffield High School, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Chris is currently deployed, but wanted to share in Lexi’s recognition. In addition to the video feed, a local Army Soldier delivered flowers to Lexi on Chris’ behalf.

As Senior Nights go, Lexi Lyon had a pretty good one.

Last Thursday, the Sheffield High School senior and volleyball player had a special guest — all the way from Kuwait in the Middle East.

Or as close as you can get without actually being in the high school gym for the ceremony.

Lexi was presented with more than just flowers. She was treated to a live video feed from her brother, Army Staff Sgt. Chris Lyon, a 2002 Sheffield High School graduate currently serving overseas.

“First thing, I want to say congratulations to the senior girls on the Lady Wolverines volleyball team,” Chris Lyon said over monitor set up in the gym by Lexi’s mom before the ceremony. “And I would really like to say congratulations to my youngest sister, Lexi Jordan. I am so proud of you and everything that you have done and wish you all good luck at your game tonight.

“Also, since I can’t be there tonight for this special game, I have a good friend and retired Sgt. Kimmel who will be presenting the senior girls with flowers from me,” said Chris. “And I would like to send a shout out to my family, mom Megan and Kesha. I love and miss you all so much. It’s always good to have family that is always there for you, whether you’re 300 miles or 6,000 miles away!”

“I had no clue. I was definitely caught by surprise,” said Lexi. “It honestly made my whole night. Being able to talk to him is the best thing in the world to me. I was honestly overwhelmed with emotions… (My brother and I) don’t talk often, but when we do it’s like we just talked yesterday. When I was younger, I didn’t really know what it was like to have a brother because I was really young and he wasn’t really around. I went to help him move from Kansas to Louisiana back in 2015, and I realized what it was like to have a brother. And it was the best feeling in the world.”

Lexi said the special message was Chris’ idea “and my mom went to the school and got everything planned out,” Lexi said. “She got with the tech guys and they set her up on the school WiFi and hooked her up with a projector. The only people that really knew were my mom, my oldest sister Kesha, and my brother, of course.”

Lexi doesn’t know when her brother will be home again.

“He’s still not sure if he’s going to be home for my graduation,” she said. “I definitely get scared sometimes. Especially hearing about all of this stuff overseas really makes me nervous. But I’m definitely proud of him for what he does.”

Sheffield knew how to do it right, as the host team and head coach Melissa Lemay also recognized visiting Eisenhower High School’s seniors on this night.

“It was very emotional for (Lexi) for sure,” said Lemay. “Her sister Kesha told me at Eisenhower that they were setting something up for Senior Recognition. They weren’t sure at the time if it would be a video feed or just audio. When we got to the gym (Thursday), the girls noticed that their senior banner had been moved to the other side of the gym and asked me if I moved it. I was guessing at that time, that they had figured out a way to use a video feed and needed an empty spot on the wall. I had to act like I had no idea why their banner was moved. Lexi was the last one announced (alphabetically), so after her bio was read, they announced that they had a special presentation and to direct their attention to that wall. That’s when she saw his image on the wall. I was behind the girls and could see her shoulders start shaking — I knew that she was crying. I was explaining to the rest of the team that was her brother, and then they started to tear up.

“It really makes you stop to think that it is because of the sacrifices that military families make every day that we are able to have the freedom to do what we do in this country, including playing volleyball,” said Lemay. “All of the credit goes to Lexi’s family. They did all the legwork to make this happen. I just had to keep it a secret for a couple days, then try to make sure they could regroup and play… It was awesome to see the family clustered around the iPad and have some private moments with her brother after the presentation was completed. I’m a big baby on Senior Night as it is, and this just amped it up 1000 percent.”

Sheffield won the game, and the night.

“It was a decent season. And it finally hit me last night that it would be my last time being out there with those girls,” said Lexi. “I’ve played with those seniors since I was in seventh grade.”

As for her future, “I plan on going to college to be a dental hygienist.

“Military life is not for me,” she said. “It’s hard enough with just having him there.”