Brother, 62, Meets Family For The First Time
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 7, 2005
PUEBLO, COLORADO--New Years Day will be a day Bernard Apodaca DeHerrera and his family will likely never forget.
It was the day they met for the first time.
Known to friends as "Barney", the 62-year-old with developmental disabilities had spent most of his life in institutions or other state-run programs. Barney now lives independently in his own apartment in Fort Collins.
He did not learn about the rest of his family until Fort Collins city employee Gary Lopez, who was born in the same small town, got curious after seeing Barney's birth certificate. Friends involved in genealogy were able to track down the eldest of Barney's 10 siblings just last week.
"My parents had told me about an older brother Bernard that they had given up," Philip DeHerrera, 61, told the Pueblo Chieftain. "I just assumed that he had passed away at some time."
Few of Barney's seven surviving siblings knew about their brother.
"I didn't even know I had an older brother until last Monday," said sister Carol DeHerrera, 50.
Last Saturday, Barney's brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews gathered to meet him for the first time.
"Look at my family," Barney said. "I have such a big family."
"A New Year's homecoming for a lost brother" (Pueblo Chieftain)