South Bend, Ind. A Mishawaka man greeted his long-lost brother off a Greyhound bus Friday night in a moment 40 years in the making at the South Bend Airport. They hadn’t seen each other since the year 1973.
63-year-old Don Buck and his brother Michael Wakefield, 59, ended up in different foster homes after their father dropped them off at an orphanage in Jackson, Mich. when they were just 6 and 2 years old.
About 15 years later, Don was in the Army when he heard a knock on the door at his barracks.
“There he stood, ‘I'm you brother, Michael,’” said Don, remembering their first and last encounter before Friday. “And I was sort of flabbergasted. We talked and went over a few things and had him spend the evening with me and got up the next day and took off.”
The year was 1973 and that was the last Don ever saw of Michael.
He and his wife, Nancy, have been married for 30 years and for as long as they’ve been together, she’s been helping him to track Michael down.
“He'd had such a rough life with foster homes,” Nancy Buck said. “And it was always that one nagging little thought-- what happened to Michael?”
She says they were determined to find him even though they had no idea what part of the country he had moved to.
“It's been emails and phone calls and Facebook,” said Nancy, who even had the help of state police in her search.
Finally, a Google image search produced a match -- after some extensive digging.
“We went through pages and pages until I said ‘That looks like Dad!’” Nancy said.
Through the image they were able to find Michael Wakefield’s last address, which was in California. They enlisted the help of some area police who finally succeeded in getting Michael on the phone.
“It was kinda weird talking to him,” Don admitted. “I hadn't heard his voice in a long time it was a lot deeper than I remembered.”
“We hung up and the police officer was crying, Michael’s crying,” Nancy said. “It was quite an emotional time.”
A few more phone calls and Facebook messages later, and Michael stepped off a cross country bus and into the arms of his family Friday night.
“I’m so blown away” was all Michael could say as he hugged his brother for the first time in decades.
“We’re brothers, yes, we’re brothers!”