Neighbor Steps up When 5-Year-Old Boy's Dad Is Deployed and It Will Melt Your Heart

| Inspiration

When 5-year-old Brian Kelly’s dad was deployed overseas with the Air Force in May, the little boy had a hard time being separated from his father.

Fortunately, the Belleville, Illinois boy’s neighbor stepped up to help fill the gap Brian’s father, Daniel left when he departed for Syria.

MORE: A Photographer Photoshopped a Woman's Deployed Husband Into Her Maternity Photo

“Brian is fascinated with weed whackers and lawn mowers,” Brian’s mom Barbara Kelly told Today. “He says he wants to be a lawn more man when he grows up.”

It’s a fascination that neighbor Dean Cravens noticed when the family moved into the neighborhood last year. Cravens often observed the little boy helping his father in their yard. After the deployment, Brian started visiting Cravens' yard.

“He had more time on his hands without his dad around,” Cravens explained. “He didn’t have that person.”

Cravens, who has three daughters ranging in age from 16 to 26, started giving Brian small gardening jobs. As they worked, the two discovered that they had other common interests, like baseball, golf and basketball.

Now, the pair shares a second father-son relationship. On Father’s Day, Cravens knocked on Brian’s door and asked the little boy if he wanted to play and Cravens' daughter, Molly, captured the touching gesture and shared it on Twitter.

While Brian is definitely benefiting from having Cravens to step in while his dad’s away, Cravens' daughters also find their own lives enriched by having Brian as a “little brother.”

“I’m familiar with a lot of families with deployed parents from school and I wanted people to appreciate that situation,” Molly said. “Brian and my dad are absolutely adorable. It’s like having a little brother whenever he comes around.”

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