BY RONALD KAOPUIKI – I am a Navy Reserve Recruiter here in Honolulu, Hawaii. I was born and raised here in Hawaii and am very fortunate to be a recruiter here in my home town.
I was adopted by my mother’s aunt and uncle at the age of six. I have never met my biological father, Larry Dean Clouse, or any of his side of the family. I also have a sister a year younger than I who was adopted by a military family at birth.
I have been searching for my father my whole life and all I know of him is from what others have told me. I knew my father’s name and that he was a Marine Sniper and that he served in Vietnam. I also knew the name of my grandfather.
One day while I was at the VA office requesting information about an applicant, I felt as if someone told me to ask the VA Representative if he could try to look up and search for my biological father because he was also Vet.
He was able to find out that my father died at the age of 34 from Agent Orange exposure.
At that point, I felt some closure because I now knew what had happened to him. I then gave the VA Rep. my grandfather’s name to search and he showed up as deceased also, but there was a phone number attached to his name.
Later, I called that number and a man answered the phone. I told him I was a Vet and was looking for another Vet by the name, Larry Dean Clouse. The man said, “yes, I know him, he was my son.”
I was confused because the computer had shown my grandfather as deceased.
The the man said, “Ronnie, is this you?” Shocked, I replied, “how do you know my name?” He then said “I have been looking for you and your sister my entire life!”
I was shocked, overwhelmed and ecstatic to find out that indeed, my real, biological grandfather was still alive, knew of me and was looking for me.
As a recruiter, I know have the opportunity to change other’s lives, but little did I know that it would also change mine. My grandfather and I keep in contact, he calls me everyday.
I wish I could have met my biological father, but hearing about his tremendous accomplishments makes me proud to be his son and makes me strive to accomplish more. Finally talking to my grandfather has filled that void in my life and I now know the other side of my family I have never met. It’s a great beginning to a new chapter of my life.