Posted at: 01/10/2013 12:08 AM
Updated at: 01/10/2013 11:37 AM
By: Dan Levy
KENNEWICK, Wash. - NewsChannel 13 is happy to update a story we first reported last September. It's about a single father from Lake George who spent his childhood in the Bronx bouncing around between groups homes and foster homes, and then spent his adult lifetime searching for his lost family.
Louis Leon's search for his lost family spanned more than three decades and spread from one side of the continent to the other. Now with the help of social and broadcast media Leon has something he's dreamed about his entire life -- he has a family.
We first introduced you to Louis as a man who had made a life for himself in the pizza business in Lake George. Now in his mid 40s and raising two young children on his own, Louis hadn't seen his own siblings -- three sisters -- since a picture of them was taken at his 10th birthday party in 1978.
Last summer, social media reunited him with his twin sisters Judy and Jackie in Kennewick, Washington. The whereabouts of their older sister, Aida, remained a mystery.
The nationally syndicated "Steve Harvey Show" got wind of the situation and invited Judy, Jackie and Louis to tell their story to his audience last month. The episode aired nationally on Wednesday.
Aided by a private detective, the Harvey Show found Aida living in Florida and flew her to Chicago for a taping of the show. She surprised her other three siblings during that taping.
"My heart jumped out of my chest," Louis said by telephone. "I couldn't believe she was standing there. It was just surreal. It was really, really a dream come true."
Louis says the reunion changed his life and changed the way he thought about life.
"It makes me realize how much family really does mean to you," he said.
So Louis rented a U-Haul and moved cross country to Washington. He sees Judy and Jackie along with nieces and nephews virtually ever day. And they speak with Aida, who lives in Kissimmee, Florida with her family, several times a week by telephone or Skype.
"You really can't make up for the lost time," Louis said. "Those 35 years are gone. What we try to do now is create new memories."
Louis says he can't really explain his life, although he says he now believes in destiny. He also believes in the power of media, which he is now eternally grateful for.
"Your story (on NewsChannel 13) was only the first story that was done on us," he recalled. "It kind of spring boarded us to other medias."
Louis now says he wants to do for others what others have done for him. He's starting a non-for-profit website called "Siblings Miracle Reunion." All it takes, he says, is heart, hope, and a lot of patience.