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Sixty-five-year-old Robert (Bob) has been estranged from his son, Chris, for nearly 40 years. Bob enlisted in the Army in 1972 during the Vietnam War and served for a few years stateside before being medically discharged. Upon his return home, Bob was removed from his son’s life. Bob ended up living with his sister, Denise, and helped to raise her young son Shawn, but he never stopped searching for Chris.

Bob was like a second father to Shawn, though Shawn always knew how important finding Chris was to Bob. Shawn explained, “My whole life I’ve heard Bob talk about Chris and I’ve seen the effort he put in trying to track Chris down. The last eight years he almost gave up because it was so difficult.”

It turns out that Chris’s desire to reconnect was just as strong as Bob’s. Just when Bob was about to give up his search, Chris found him. The two connected over the phone a few years ago, but have never been able to meet in person. Chris’s fiancée, Stephanie, has spent the last few years searching tirelessly to find a way to reunite the two with no luck. Since being in contact, it has been their greatest wish to be reunited in person before they lost the opportunity forever.

Wish of a Lifetime, in partnership with GHC Housing Partners, was so excited to grant Bob and Chris’s true Wish of a Lifetime. On April 26th, 2019, Chris and Stephanie flew from Boston, MA down to St. Petersburg, FL to reunite with Bob after 40 years of separation. 

They all had an amazing time reconnecting, exploring the area and enjoying the beautiful weather. Chris shared, “The most memorable moment, to me, was when we first met after so long; the hug we both shared, the smiles, and laughter.”

Chris explained how his father had built up walls over the years, but getting to see his son changed all that: “He tore down the walls, and saw his little son, a grown man. I just feel that this has caused a ‘happy balance’ in him because he knows that we will keep in touch at least daily until Steph and I move south to be closer to him so we can enjoy more moments like those that Wish of a Lifetime gave us the opportunity to have. For this I am incredibly grateful and humbled.”