To be a father is to be a beacon of unconditional love.
Joe Klick knows.
He knows he will amble around the playground with his three-year-old daughter until she says it’s time to go.
“She’ll let you know exactly what she wants to do,” he says.
He knows the power of a father because he is also a son, now on a journey to know about his dad.
“I talked to my mom, and she told me about this young love of her life, and his name was Skip.”
Joe grew up in Minnesota, moved to Florida and California, and landed in Temple, Georgia. He found out at age 40 about a biological father he never knew.
“After finding out, it was hard. Every time I’d watch a movie with a father-son, that’s all I would think about: ‘What was he like? What anything?’ It would be hard.”
Ten years went by. This past Christmas Joe got as a gift a subscription to Ancestry.com. He sent his DNA and discovered, not a father, but an aunt, Diane Finneman.
“Joe Klick shows up on my DNA chart, right with my three grandchildren,” Diane said. “I’m thinking, ‘Who is this guy?’”
Finneman and her sisters, Colleen Page and Jacque Krismer, still live in Minnesota. Her Ancestry.com page only mentioned those sisters, and no brothers who could be Joe’s father.
“But I did have a brother,” Diana says. “His name is Wallace Skip Schmidt, but he died in Vietnam.”
At a time when most were drafted into the military, Skip Schmidt enlisted.
Soon it was off to Vietnam. And Skip’s pride in his mission faded fast. And four years after Skip came home, he took his own life, never knowing that just before he left for war, he conceived a son.
“It’s like, ‘Wow, I got this whole other family,’” Joe said. “But the one person I was trying to find the whole time, I will never meet.”
Joe knew right away he still wanted to meet everyone else.
A Vietnam veterans’ event brought out the whole family over one weekend. And it is all so needed for this father and son.
“It’s surreal,” Joe said. “This is the best possible scenario that could have happened.”
Watch Matt Pearl's full story Monday night, on The Late Feed.