“I couldn’t believe it,” said Joe Oakes in an interview with project NZ out of New Zealand on July 14, 2017. After being separated from his brother for 35 years, Joe recognized the man on television.
“I’m sitting in front of the TV, and all of a sudden it came on!” he said.
Joe’s 100-year-old-brother was on TV.
Joe’s brother, Ben Oakes, a World War II veteran, was on a New Zealand television station that regularly featured brief moments highlighting the lives of people who had reached the age of 100 years old.
“That’s my brother!”
When Joe saw his brother on TV that night, his heart skipped a beat, and he was in utter shock.
“That’s my brother!” exclaimed Joe.
After decades of not seeing each other, they finally got the chance to reconnect.
“After all these years I thought that perhaps he had passed,” said Ben. “Everybody in my family seems to have gone. I appeared to be more or less on my own.”
Over time, after living abroad and facing the struggles of life, the brothers had completely lost track of each other.
A New Purpose
Ben said, “Meeting him was living again.”
“The thing is with when you’re a long way away, and you think the other person is no longer there, it’s a bit hard to think about them,” Joe said.
As he pointed to his older brother, Joe recalled, ” He’s the one that taught me how to lift weights, how to fight, how to live.”
Ben spoke from his heart, “I had a great belief in my family when I was a kiddy, and I still have that that belief back again.”
That belief is giving the newly found brothers a new purpose in life.
Family Brings Happiness
Ben continued, “If I could spend as much time with this guy and family,” he said sincerely, “I would be the happiest man to put my wings on when the time comes.”