A reunion unlike any other took place today as siblings reunited after being separated for more than 60 years.
John Hardesty waits anxiously, ready to meet his sister for the first time.
“Well I called her a couple weeks ago and told her we were coming up and ever since then I had butterflies,” says John.
John and his sister Hazel were orphans and were separated when Hazel was seven. On Sunday, the moment he has been waiting for his whole life has finally come.
“I was emotional and happy and overwhelmed,” says Dianna Booth, John’s daughter.
Dianna has spent 15 years searching for her father’s siblings. She even reached out to talk show hosts asking for help.
“I never heard anything back. I was almost on the verge to give up,” says Dianna.
Dianna’s mother-in-law decided to step in and help.
“She totally went nuts to find somebody because she knew I had never met anybody on my dad’s side,” Dianna says.
After searching on ancestry.com, she discovered six out of the eight siblings had already passed away but she was able to find two of John’s sisters, Helen and Hazel.
Hazel lives in Amboy and John lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Dianna says she still remembers the call from her mother-in-law.
“‘She goes ‘well I found one of your father’s sisters’ and she told me that ‘I found Hazel the oldest one’ I was like oh my gosh you got to be kidding me.”
“When she answered the phone I said ‘do you know who this is?’ She said ‘No,’ ‘I said this is your brother John.’ and she said ‘Noooooooo,’”says John.
What had seemed like a lost hope is now finally a reality. Decades spent apart and now maybe only years spend together, but they both say better late than never.
“I’m just happy and glad we found each other,” says John.
John and Hazel’s sister Helen lives in Arizona and wasn’t able to make the reunion because of health issues but they plan to make a trip this summer where they all can get together.