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Wise, 59, of White Hall, knew that he had brothers and sisters
but he had no idea where they were or how to find them.
“I had made small ventures to try and find them but I always got
discouraged and gave up,” Wise said. “The emotions and the
ups and downs were more than I wanted to handle.”
He is the head of security for Hanor Corporation, owns Carken Storage
in Roodhouse and Shiloh Mowing, LLC and is founder of the
Christian group, “Saved By Grace.”
When he made the decision that he was once again going to look for his siblings,
he mentioned it to his sound man for “Saved By Grace.”
“I asked Stan Lowe and his wife Jeanne to pray for us because we were going
to try to go through this search again and that is when they brought up
the fact that they do genealogy for a hobby,” Wise said.
“They said they would be happy to help out. They had a lot of leads,
but none of them panned out. It took them six to eight weeks to finally find them.”
Emotionally, Wise couldn’t handle the uncertainty of the search.
“The first two numbers they gave me turned out to be wrong numbers,” he said.
“So, I told them to let me know when they indeed found one of my siblings.”
One Sunday this spring the phone rang and it was Stan and Jeanne.
“Jeanne called me and said she had talked to my sister,” Wise said.
“I asked her which sister and she said the one in Indiana. You have
three sisters and a brother in Indiana she told me.
”Wise made plans to visit his newfound siblings and in April,
he and his wife Carla, along with Stan and Jeanne,
all made a trip to Goshen, Ind., to meet them.
“We stayed at a local motel and had arranged to meet them in the restaurant
because we thought it was best to meet in a public place,”
Wise said. “Well, the restaurant wasn’t open in the afternoon
but they did open it up for us and let us have
our reunion and it was wonderful.”
Time melted away in those first few moments of meeting his siblings,
Linda Ankrom, Jimmy Yaap, Arlene Lee and Beth VanLandschoot.
“Within two to five minutes of meeting and talking with them it was
like we had never been separated,” Wise said. “It had been almost 60 years
but it seemed like we had known each other forever.
We speak the same way and even some of our motor movements
are similar. It is uncanny.”
Since their meeting in April, the family has kept in constant contact.
“I talk to one of them almost every day,” Wise said. “We are not going
to get lost again. This fall we are going to make another trip
out to see them since it is easier for me to go out and see them
than it is for them to come see me.”
A devout religious man, Wise credits God for finding his family.
“God led me to find my brothers and sisters because he wants
us all to be together,” he said. “My gift to them when we first met
was a Bible and I told them I hoped they read it and found Jesus
because I don’t want to be separated ever again,
not in this life or the afterlife.”
Meeting his family for the first times was one of the greatest
experiences of his life.
“I think next to my salvation that is was the greatest thing
I have ever experienced.” Wise said.