Woman Finds Lost Father After Three Decades Of Searching

HumankindPublished: August 18, 2017169 views
Published: August 18, 2017

Jimmy Smith was never a fixture in his daughter’s life, but Beverly Freeney longed to see her daddy anyway. The man roamed Frenchtown for more than a decade. Without a place of his own, he spent his nights at a former West Tennessee Street shelter.

For 30 years, Beverly feared her father was buried in an unmarked grave. She never imagined he was three hours away living as a homeless man in Tallahassee. One of her cousins, who never met Jimmy, came across an online voter information that contained all the right information, along with an unfamiliar address. It was the homeless shelter where Jimmy was staying.

Jimmy may not have been receiving services, but case managers regularly checked up on him. When the cousin matched the address with the shelter’s contact, the staff exchanged a couple of calls and Facebook massages with Beverly’s family. Of course, they were eager to finally meet the man they’ve been searching all these years and the 73-year-old tearfully agreed.

On November 5, Freeney stood at the door of her dad’s small, one-bedroom apartment at Casa Calderon. He moved in there two years ago with the help of a social services provider. Beverly knocked on the door several times, but there was no answer. Security was called it to open, but the resident was not in.

Assisted by a Tallahassee Democrat reporter and photographer, she began hunting for her father at his two hangouts in Frenchtown. She finally found her dad, this as a rail, pushing a rusted shopping cart about two blocks north of Tennessee Street.

The 54-year-old daughter didn’t think twice before flinging the car door open and dart for the man. One tight embrace later, they erupted in tears, as the rest of the Freeney family formed a cocoon around them. The reunion was happening. Beverly knew instantly, "That's my daddy."

A week later, freshly shaven and in the company of Beverly’s two nieces, Jimmy was ready to come home for good. And just in time for Thanksgiving.

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