Feature Writer Romeo Edmead

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Music From A Distance

No matter the profession, Jazz piano instructor, Mark Miller just cannot seem to get away from home deliveries. The former driver for U.P.S., 53, still makes many home visits, and even goes far beyond the parameters he once had while behind the wheel of the truck. Now, instead of handing over packages at the front door, he goes from country to country, sitting right in living rooms, bringing along his piano lessons via telephone and Skype. Although his teaching career began 30 years ago, he has only taught remotely for a little more than a decade, with lessons spanning more than half the continents of the world.

Regardless of their location, Mr. Miller’s main objective is to give his students knowledge of the piano that will last for an eternity. “I would say that the biggest compliment I can get from a student is that Mark gave me the ability to look at the piano and play the piano creatively, not just play what someone else wrote,” said the Illinois based music teacher. “Playing lifelong is one of the greatest pleasures anyone can have.”

If Mr. Miller is cognizant of what one of his current students said about his teachings, he would probably feel like he is getting his point across. Angela, a Seattle based college professor, who prefers to be mentioned by first name only, began taking lessons 2 years ago, but started playing piano at the age of five. “I think he’s the kind of piano teacher I’ve been looking for my whole life,” Angela, now 42, said. “I think those of us who don’t have some magical talent or gift feel we need a little bit of theory or instruction so we can have some tools or strategies for playing that sound more professional and he’s really good at that.”

To go along with theory and instruction, confidence building is also a major part of Mr. Miller’s teaching repertoire. He works with visually impaired pupils like Angela, but he does not just stop there. Mr. Miller also has students who have limited use of their limbs, but he takes pride in figuring out a method of teaching any student interested in learning. “My first disabled student, which this month is the tenth year that I’ve taught her, is 76 and has no use of her left side,” Mr. Miller said. “So I write one handed arrangements for her.” Furthermore, Mr. Miller spoke about another student who can only use her right hand, is blind, and navigates with a wheelchair, which makes the peddle inaccessible to her. She had never played before encountering Mr. Miller, but has been taking lessons for the last 3 years. “That is my greatest joy,” Mr. Miller said. “Teaching someone to play who never thought they could ever do it.”

Although former student Noel Romey was not a novice when he began taking lessons, the totally blind chemical engineer said he did receive a significant education from Mr. Miller. Mr. Romey, a 34-year-old Virginia resident, took lessons from 2003-2006, and acquired knowledge he always longed to obtain. “He kind of helped me to learn some new chord structures and learn about jazz,” Romey said. “I always enjoyed listening to it so I always wanted to learn how to
play some of the really complicated sounding chords, so he really helped me to change my playing style.”

Whether they are past, present or future, Mr. Miller relishes the thought of a student discovering the aspects of piano playing that are under appreciated. “When you play the piano, more parts of the brain are used,” Mr. Miller said. “You’ve got the spatially, you’ve got visually, you’ve got the tactile, and the dexterity.”

If you’re interested in finding out just how true Mr. Miller’s convictions are, he offers lessons for a minimum of 2 hours a month, at a rate of $90 per hour. He will even give an initial lesson free of charge, and anyone who signs up afterwards can pay by check, Visa or MasterCard. Via telephone, he can be reached at 847-382-6346 or 847-401-1721. Online, you can read more about Mr. Miller at pianoweb.com or jazzpianoweb.com

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Criminals with a Conscience

Some crime victims suffer for an extended period of time, for others it could be an eternity, but there are some scenarios in which crime victims actually benefit in the long run. Take San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services, a California based organization that was burglarized, only to wind up being bombarded with more donations than they could handle, as an example. It all began on the final night of the month in July, when Executive Director Candy Stallings received a troubling phone call. The caller informed her that the security alarm at the office had been activated, and the police were on their way.

After hanging up, Ms. Stallings decided she was headed for the office too, and arrived shortly after the authorities. Once on the scene, she was notified that the criminals had already come and gone. They had entered through the ceiling, and managed to make off with every computer on the premises. “It was pretty devastating,” Ms. Stallings said. “I thought that we’re never going to recover from this.” Ms. Stallings did recover though, just not in a way that she could have ever imagined. The next sequence of events proved to be stunning, and started just a few hours later.

Once Ms. Stallings returned home, she eventually received another phone call in the middle of the night. Unfathomably, it was the security company again, alerting her that the police were headed back due to another possible invasion. Ms. Stallings returned too, only to find that the criminals really did come back a second time. They successfully fled the scene again, but left some things behind this time. Each one of the six desk top computers had been returned, and one laptop too. If that was not enough, the piece of paper found inside of the laptop might have been the real shocker.

The piece of paper contained a short message expressing deep remorse for the crime, and lauded Ms. Stallings and her nonprofit for the services they provided. They were oblivious to the efforts of the center, even referring to their own actions as sick. “It’s unbelievable,” Ms. Stallings said. “Those persons that came into the office had a change of heart.” The famous note probably would have never been forgotten anyway, but there is absolutely no chance of that because Ms. Stallings plans to frame it in the office.

Although many strangers have never seen the note, they have gotten wind of the story, and the support for the organization that followed has been overwhelming. The offers for donations have come from several angles, eventually becoming too much to keep track of. As a result, Ms. Stallings had to set up a website specifically for donations. Furthermore, the word traveled to sexual assault victims who then reached out to the center for help, and amazingly all of the thanks goes to some criminals who brought on all of this attention.

The note read, “We had no idea what we were taking. Here’s your stuff back. We hope that you can continue making a difference in people’s lives. God bless.”

Lt. Paul Williams, who has been with the San Bernardino Police Department for more than 20 years, said he has never seen anything like it.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/09/us/california-stolen-goods-returned/index.html

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – On the Job at 98

At the age of 17, Angie MacLean began bartending on the side in order to make some pocket change. Over the years, she spent 3 decades working for General Electric, but the idea of still mixing drinks more than four score later is even alien to her. Ms. MacLean, a Connecticut native, is 98 years old now, and bartending is far from a side job these days. Currently, she reports to Panama Joe’s Cafe, 6 days a week, clocking in for 8 hours each day. Wednesday is the one day she takes off, not for recuperating though, that’s her time to get some shopping done.

In addition to shopping, Ms. MacLean spends some of her time frequenting casinos. “I gamble,” Ms. MacLean said. “I like to play the slots. I went to the new one in New York with my son and daughter in law last week.” The nonagenarian certainly appreciates the time she spends with her children, but one place they do not visit is her place of employment. Ms. MacLean will still have a drink from time to time, but according to her, “my kids don’t drink or smoke.”

For those who do not mind alcohol, Ms. MacLean can be found plying her trade between 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM. Not surprisingly, ever since her story began circulating, the Bridgeport establishment has attracted some curious customers. “They come in,” said Ms. MacLean. “They get a kick out of me.” Although Ms. MacLean does not mind attracting more company, her preference is to work the earlier shift instead of the later one. She said night time is too crowded for her, so even the unpredictability of the day crowd is still considered a better option.

Once, the day shift brought Ms. MacLean two unexpected incidences from the same customer, played out over a one week span. She recalled how a man stopped in with a few friends and wanted to start a tab. Much to his chagrin though, they do not operate that way at Panama Joe’s. He proceeded to argue, only to follow it up with a threat. “He said if you were not a woman I would come right behind that bar,” Ms. MacLean recounted. “So I said you would? So I walked out from behind the bar and said go ahead! Go ahead! Then they got mad and took off.”

The very next week the same group of men returned, and Ms. MacLean was their server once again. Before leaving though, they did have a parting gift for her. “It was folded up small when he put it in my hand, and he said here’s a tip for you, I appreciate what you do,” Ms. MacLean recalled. “After I looked at it and realized it was a $100 bill, I said I don’t want that money. He said no I want you to take it and I’d love to take you out for dinner.”

Fortunately, At this point in her life Ms. MacLean is not working for the money, and that is why she has no plans to ever stop. The mother of 3, who said she lost count of the number of grandkids, has never been out of the country and has no desire to, but does have an interesting idea of doing something she has never done before. “I’d get a truck and put all the drunks in, take them down the street and give them drinks. As for what she would do for herself on April 6, 2015 when she turns 100, with no hesitation, Ms. Maclean said, “Vegas.”

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Work To Eat

Although these are difficult times financially for Julia Gonzalez, she knows that a meal at lunchtime is guaranteed for the majority of the week. Ms. Gonzalez, from Spain, takes advantage of an opportunity provided by the Spanish restaurant Trobada, which offers customers the option to pay or work for a meal. Prior to receiving lunch, for one hour people like Ms. Gonzalez can either wait tables, wash dishes, or clean, and then it’s time to dine. “It is a unique opportunity,” said Ms. Gonzalez, who has been unemployed for the past 2 years. “Since I am here I feel more optimistic.”

The restaurant, located in the city of Terrassa, was established in response to Spain’s struggling economy, and offers a three course meal in addition to bread and wine. It opened its doors three months ago, and is a collaborative effort between more than two dozen local charities and the Terrassa city council. For paying customers, who generate approximately 25% of the revenue, lunch costs 6.50 euros, equivalent to $8.35 in US currency. Trobada does not open for business on the weekend, and its meals are offered from a fixed menu.

Despite the predictable dining option, African immigrant Pabe Lamine Ndye, who lost his last job three years ago, could not be more appreciative of such a unique program. “This is very good,” he said. “we feel good helping each other and in return we can eat.” Ms. Gonzalez also added her thoughts about working with others in her predicament. “We all stick together and encourage each other.”

Those who work in exchange for a meal are officially known as time customers, who have to be unemployed for the past two years. According to the restaurant manager, the program targets those seeking to feel valued, with the eventual goal of improving their quality of life.

Source: http://www.wtvy.com/news/odd/headlines/Spain-Restaurant-Letting-People-Work-to-Pay-for-a-Meal-208097531.html

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Twins Graduate Head of the Class

For more than a century Spelman College has had one commencement ceremony after another, but co-valedictorians is something they have never experienced before. Spelman, located in Atlanta, Georgia, will conduct its 126th Commencement this coming Sunday, and this time the occasion will be historic for several reasons. Not only is this the first time the school will feature co-valedictorians, but the academic stars happen to be sisters too. To be more precise, Kirstie and Kristie Bronner are identical twins, who obviously share much more in common than just their looks.

Explaining how they were both able to maintain perfect 4.0 GPA’s, the sisters emphasized the importance of prioritizing, accountability, and faith. “People would ask us, do you want to go do this or that on a weekday and the response was an automatic no”, said Kirstie. “We saved recreation for the weekend.” When her sister chimed in, she talked about the difference between asking for something as opposed to working for it. “Prayer accounts for things you can’t do,” said Kristie. “What you are able to take responsibility for, do it. Don’t act like God is supposed to do it all for you.”

In the immediate future, the sisters plan to work at a youth ministry in Atlanta, where their father happens to be the pastor. Eventually, Kirstie and Kristie, who each earned a degree in music, aspire to record a gospel album. Future plans also include publishing a book, geared towards educating teens on accomplishing scholastic excellence.

Knowing their history, it comes as no surprise that Kirstie and Kristie value education so much, because the twins are not the first members of the family to graduate from Spelman. Their mother and grandmother also earned degrees from the prestigious college for African American women, so that always supplied motivation to continue the family tradition. Now that the mission is complete, Kristie summed up the impact Spelman has had on her life. “It’s been a nurturing environment for my overall growth as a Black woman.”

Source: http://www.spelman.edu/about-us/news-and-events/2013/05/02/kirstie-and-kristie-bronner-named-co-valedictorians-for-spelman-college-class-of-2013

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Canine Culinary

Executive Chef Kevyn Matthews, also known as The Dog Chef, connects with dogs so deeply that he can sometimes look into their eyes and detect the type of nutrition they lack. His cuisine, all raw and fresh, consists of protein, vegetables, and fruits, which all provide an increased quality of life for dogs. A high school friend would be able to testify about the immense impact Mr. Matthew’s cooking can really have. The friend, who had a dog that was not moving or eating, was told during a veterinarian visit that the family pet only had a couple more days to live. After informing Mr. Matthews of his plight, he probably did not expect the next sequence of events.

“I went to his house, took a look at the dog and brought some food back,” Matthews said. “Four days later, I drive by the house, he opens the door, and the dog runs to me, kissed me in the face, and was full of life.” The dog lived for another comfortable 6 months, which came as no surprise to Mr. Matthews because after 15 years of research and practice, he understands the power of a healthy diet. “If you are feeding it life you are breeding life,” said Matthews. “That’s what their system is built to break down.”

Despite his natural gravitation towards dogs, Mr. Matthews started working in culinary arts when he first began cooking for human beings. His clients were based in the entertainment industry, but according to him, it had its drawbacks. “People are very particular about what they want to eat, and sometimes will dismiss something because of the way it looks.” Mr. Matthews added that cooking for humans is more expensive, too.

He began making the transition towards cooking for dogs with his own dog Greta, whose health improved drastically after he changed her diet. He is certain that Greta is responsible for starting his business, because each time he wanted to give up she always provided a look of encouragement. Before she died, Mr. Matthews said he promised her that he would do everything in his power to enhance the life of any dog he could touch. Since then, his cuisine has relieved the stress of dogs stricken with cancer, kidney trouble, and allergies, and Mr. Matthews only intends on furthering his mission. “I didn’t get in to what I’m doing for the money, I got into it to save these animals’ lives because they’ve done so much for us and all they really ask from us is a little pat on the head, but what they really need from us is proper nutrition.”

He wants to reach dogs all over the world, and can ship fresh food wherever necessary. To locations such as Baltimore, New York City, and Washington D.C., shipping is free, and it is not uncommon for Mr. Matthews to make an occasional hand delivery in these areas if agreed upon.

For more information, visit http://thedogchef.net/Home_Page.html
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dog-Chef/271666306183211
On Twitter: @thedogchef.
For direct contact, send an email to kevyn@thedogchef.net

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Adjusted Baseball Vision

Juan Sandoval may not see the baseball field exactly the way he once did, yet he still takes the mound whenever it is his turn to pitch.

Back in 2006, Mr. Sandoval was caught in a cross fire, precipitated by a dispute between two men. He was struck in the face by several bullets, turning what was supposed to be an evening out to dinner with his girlfriend into a life-altering experience. The end result is that now Mr. Sandoval, 32, is totally blind in his right eye, but he promised himself to never give up on his dreams.

Prior to that tragedy, which took place in his native Dominican Republic, Mr. Sandoval spent the previous four years as a minor league pitcher in the Seattle organization. Following the shooting, it took him approximately a year to resume baseball activities, and returning to the mound was even a more arduous process. “Ground balls were the toughest part, because I didn’t have depth perception,” said Sandoval. “It took a little time to get that.” He eventually did, though, because in the following six years he returned to pitch for Seattle again, to go along with Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

Although Mr. Sandoval only made it as far as Class AA prior to the incident, and got to Class AAA since then, which is one step below the major leagues, he was average at best. His drastic improvement occurred when he pitched in the Mexican League, which has no association with Major League Baseball, but he struck batters out consistently while registering four more wins than losses.

He continued pitching from there into the Dominican Winter League, where he encountered Joel Peralta. Mr. Peralta, a fellow pitcher already playing in the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays, was so impressed that he vowed to call Rays general manager Andrew Friedman to tell him about Juan. Mr. Friedman decided to give him a shot, and fortunately for Mr. Sandoval, Rays manager Joe Maddon also figured it was worth the try.

Now, Mr. Sandoval is in spring training, and even if he does not make it to the majors for opening day next month, he will be watched closely in Class AAA. If he does get to the majors, it would just be another blessing to add to the many Mr. Sandoval has received since his ordeal.

The girlfriend he was with that night is now his wife, and they are the proud parents of three. Certainly Mr. Sandoval is anxious about his immediate future, but he appreciates all of his success so far. “I’m not missing anything because of my eye,” Sandoval said. “I’m not complaining.”

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/02/21/juan-sandoval-tampa-bay-rays-journeyman-one-eye/1934911/

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – The Gift That Can’t Be Returned

Awaiting an organ transplant can generate anticipation for a healthier future, but there is only a definitive length of time the body can hold out for a correct match. The month of February, among other areas of recognition, is also designated a time to highlight the importance of those in need of healthy organs. Overshadowed by a day for sweethearts, the best kept secret about February 14th is that it doubles as National Donor Day, and some lucky individuals received the ultimate gift this year. Since its inception in 1998, the day remains more known amongst medical professionals and patients, but the purpose was to create awareness for those in need of fully functioning vital organs.

It is easy to assume that Thomas Duncan knew all about National Donor Day, because for the third time in 12 years, Mr. Duncan, from Tennessee, underwent a kidney transplant. This one may have been extra special, though. First of all, the procedure took place on Valentine’s Day, and the cherry on top was that, yes, the donor was his wife Kim, who he has been married to for a quarter century. Ms. Duncan, 48, did offer her perspective on how significant the timing is to her. She said, “What better day to show God’s love as much as our love?” Speaking about his new kidney, Mr. Duncan, 49, acknowledged how fortunate he is and said, “It’s just a blessing to get one.”

Regardless of how fascinating the story is surrounding his most recent transplant, the details involving Mr. Duncan’s second kidney transplant is a close rival. In 2003, Patricia Dempsey, a friend of the Duncan’s, wanted to give him a kidney. At the same time, Melissa Floyd hoped to donate one to her own mother. Unfortunately, both ladies were not a match for their intended targets, but in an unfathomable twist, Ms. Dempsey was a match for Ms. Floyd’s mother and Ms. Floyd was a match for Mr. Duncan.

Another man, Joe Carvalho, had his first kidney transplant. It was nowhere near as eventful as Mr. Duncan’s second, but it did have similarities to Mr. Duncan’s most recent one. It took place in Pennsylvania on the same day, and it came from his wife Aubrey. The procedure for the newlyweds taught Mr. Carvalho, 25, something about himself in the immediate aftermath. “I didn’t realize how sick I was until I got the transplant,” he said. Unfortunately for Mr. Carvalho, he had become so accustomed to feeling ill that he no-longer realized how abnormal it was. Lucky for him Ms. Carvalho was eager to change that as soon as possible. “I was just like let me see if I can do it,” she said. “I didn’t hesitate.”

Although she may not have been instantly confident like Ms. Carvalho, another brave woman, Taesha Benson, 32, eventually did the same thing for that special someone in her life. “Initially you think, how could I do that? I don’t have it in me,'” she said. The person Ms. Benson was referring to is her boyfriend, Travis Spire-Sweet, 30, who was on the donor list for a year. The Kansas City, Kansas couple have been dating for 10 months, and along with the others both are recovering nicely.

Even though all three men traveled different paths to find themselves on the operating table, if they share something in common it is that they are survivors. Mr. Duncan developed a kidney disease in his 20’s, Mr. Carvalho was born with only one, and Mr. Spire-Sweet had such kidney complications that making it to a toddler was predicted to be highly unlikely. Despite that, 29 years later he is still here, knowing that if he or Mr. Carvalho should require future transplants,
Mr. Duncan is living proof that it can be a success.

Sources:
http://www.lvhn.org/lehighvalleyhealthnews/2013/02/20/newlyweds-celebrate-marriage-with-kidney-transplant-at-lehigh-valley-hospital/

http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/health/valentines-day-kidney-forget-flowers-or-roses-she-gave-him-the-gift-of-life

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/14/valentines-day-gift-kidney/1921127/

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Lights Out

The exhibition “Dialog In the Dark, New York City Style,” provided visitors with a mock trip through Central Park, a super market, train ride, Times Square, and a coffee shop, all without a hint of light. The experience, which could contain a maximum of 10 visitors lead by one legally blind tour-guide, is no longer available after 14 months of operation. The damage caused by Super Storm Sandy is directly to blame, even though the closing of the museum was initially meant to be temporary. Two weeks ago however, all tour-guides received the final email, informing them that they would not be returning to work.

Although the museum closed immediately after the storm last October, former tour-guide Frank Lewis remained optimistic in the ensuing 3 months. “I was really holding on to some glimmer of hope that I would be going back to work,” said the Bronx resident. “Upon receiving the notification that it was over I was like ‘Wow! Now I’m unemployed!’ I was really hurt behind it!” When reminiscing on what he would miss the most, Mr. Lewis, 51, spoke passionately about losing his ability to teach people while leading tours. “I thought that if I could enlighten people as a person who is visually impaired about what people might go through, then maybe people would be more understanding.”

Even though Mr. Lewis was not her guide when she went on tour last winter, Stacey Alziebler-Perkins, 44, would have probably loved his message. Mrs. Alziebler-Perkins, a California transplant now living in Manhattan, said, “It made me appreciate my sight so it was kind of
humbling in a way.” That reaction came as a bit of a surprise to Mrs. Alziebler-Perkins because she was not totally oblivious to the concept of blindness. “I knew of blind people and I’m around them a lot,” she said. “They make it look so easy.” Regardless of her intense level of trepidation, Mrs. Alziebler-Perkins said it was an amazing experience that she would have done again. Just like every other visitor she was given a cane at the beginning of her tour, but said it provided no increased level of comfort.

Never mind the fact that it may have been for the opposite reason, like Mrs. Alziebler-Perkins, Alisha Bunting surprised herself by her own reaction when she took a tour last July. The 16-year-old admitted that as she traveled to the exhibit from her home in Brooklyn she thought it would be stupid, but was pleased to realize it exceeded her expectations. “I know when it’s dark in the house I always hit everything,” she said. “I didn’t do that bad except for when I was pushing on the wall instead of the door.” When asked, Ms. Bunting was very complementary of an ally she utilized in the museum which is not at her disposal back home when it’s time to maneuver through the dark. “I felt the cane was really great because that’s better than bumping
into walls where the cane could just take the hit for you. It seemed so much safer than stumbling around because you kind of have a guide with you.”

Former tour-guide Pedro Martinez, also from Brooklyn, wished everyone always used their cane exactly like Ms. Bunting used hers. When giving an account of his worst tour ever, Mr. Martinez, 38, recalled an incident in which inappropriate behavior caused him to resort to
extreme measures. “I had a large group one night and these 2 guys climbed on top of a table and started swinging their canes,” Martinez said. “At that point they made it too dangerous for everybody and themselves so I had to escort them out. If you are on top of a table swinging your cane that is head level with everyone else–at that point you were warned more than once and you just had to leave.”

Excluding that incident on tour, which Mr. Martinez said was terrific after the disruptive men were gone, he enjoyed his time at the museum, too. Unlike Mr. Lewis, Mr. Martinez was not surprised that it finally closed, but he does miss it. “I’m kind of a little down because I did
enjoy giving tours.” She may not have been a tour-guide, but Mrs. Alziebler-Perkins felt similar to Mr. Martinez when she heard about the closing. “I was sad,” she said. “I think it was a great museum and I think it gave people a different prospective on how life could be.”

As tour-guides, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Martinez say what will stick with them will be the way they were able to touch the lives of children, similar to the way they will always remember the impact the same kids had on them. Mr. Lewis spoke about a teenager who gave him a hug at the completion of a tour after which the youngster thanked him for his honesty. He was experiencing similar name calling and teasing just like Mr. Lewis endured as a child. For Mr. Martinez, his unforgettable tour with kids was his first ever with children, who could not thank him enough for the way he kept them calm. Visitors like Sofia Spentzas left with something, too, as she
reflected on what stuck in her mind. She said of her February 2012 tour, “It was the unknown. Trying something different is stepping out of the box for me, which was great.”

Many guests left with varying impressions, but Ms. Bunting agreed with a plethora of them when she explained her primary method of navigating while on tour. “I would say hearing first,” she said. “If someone called me or I got turned around somehow I’d walk toward the sound.”

The exhibit will certainly be missed, but it’s clear that it had an impact on those who came to experience it. In that way, it was an incredible success that simply ended too soon.

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Siblings Reunite After Almost Seven Decades Apart

Prior to Saturday, each time Clifford Boyson and Betty Billadeau heard the words “Happy New Year,” they probably never had a clue of how special 2013 would really be.

Mr. Boyson, 66, lives in Iowa, and Ms. Billadeau, a 70-year-old Missouri resident, are siblings who have not seen each other in more than a half century. To be more precise, their reunion took 65 years, but it finally occurred in an Iowa hotel with the assistance of a little friend. The facilitator, Eddie Hanzelin, the 7-year-old son of Mr. Boyson’s landlord, conducted his investigation through Facebook, and said he noticed the resemblance immediately.

Although they had a video chat a few days earlier, once brother and sister laid eyes on each other in person the tears were not far behind. Just in case the reunion was not enough for Mr. Boyson, Ms. Billadeau brought along some very special guests. He was introduced to his niece Sarah, 42, and great niece Megan, 27, who handed him a suitcase with a threat that he must visit them in Missouri soon. “He didn’t have any women in his life,” Sarah said. “We’re going to get that straightened out real fast.”

Another topic they decided to address right away was family history. Ms. Billadeau began telling Mr. Boyson about some of what she has gone through. She touched on one of the many reasons why finding her brother was so monumental. “I’ve already lost a daughter and a husband,” Ms. Billadeau said. “So it’s good to get some family back.” She added that she lost a brother 6 years ago, and reuniting with Mr. Boyson was like seeing her deceased brother again. Ms. Billadeau also reminded Mr. Boyson of someone. He told her “You’re about the same height mom was.”

After being separated in foster care, the brother and sister said they did think about each other throughout the years. Both made attempts to find the other, but of course to no avail. So after all this time it took young Eddie stepping in to make this all possible. He said he wanted to assist because “Clifford did not have any family, and family’s important.” If Eddie is interested, the little private investigator is well on his way, because Sarah surprised him with a $125 check for his services. Eddie made mom and dad very proud too. “He has always been a sweet boy,” his mom said. Dad jumped in and added, “We feel fantastic.”

Source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130113/NEWS/301130055/Brother-sister-reunion-lifetime-making