Royal Oak Man Reunited with Biological Family Thanks to Helper and Community
(Lara Mossa, Oct. 13, 2019)
Royal Oak, MI – Jason Caudill never met his dad. In fact, when he moved into a group home about nine months ago, he didn’t have any family or friends. Come to find out, not only is his dad alive, but the 46-year-old Troy resident has many sisters and a brother. He was reunited with his family Saturday.
“I’m glad I’m not alone anymore,” said Caudill, who is paralyzed from the waist down. “For a long time, I was practically alone – alone, and I didn’t like it.”
The victim of an accident eight years ago, Caudill has some minor cognitive impairment and memory problems, too. Meeting his father and his family was more than he ever imagined.
“I’ve never been happier in my life,” he said.
His landlord, Jennifer Allen of Royal Oak made the reunion happen. Allen owns a group home where her son, Evan lives. Caudill moved in about nine months ago and is Evan’s roommate.
“I noticed right away that he didn’t have family and friends,” she said. “He was pretty much just alone…He was not only lonely but very afraid and anxious all the time.”
Allen tried to provide additional support for him but was getting overwhelmed with her own family and job. So, she reached out to the community for help. She put a couple of posts on a Royal Oak and Ferndale Facebook group and received thousands of responses. The community held a fundraising event, and they also created a GoFundMe page to help make upgrades to the home to make it more accessible.
As it turns out, Caudill’s sister whom he’d never met, heard the story and, right away, arranged to visit him. Vesta Caudill was living a short drive away in Waterford Township She also brought Caudill’s father, Fayette, to meet him. Fayette came from Hale, three hours away. It’s a trip he plans to make often as he gets to know his son.
“It was very great to see my dad,” said Jason Caudill, who explained that his parents divorced when he was a baby. “I was very surprised, very happy. I never knew I had a dad. I’m glad I found out I did though.”
The two talked all day about country music and fishing and hunting. They talked about getting a handicap-accessible vehicle, so they can go fishing together.
They also had quiet moments – just holding hands – and tears, Allen said.
“I think it was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ll ever see,” she added. “It was something so overwhelmingly good, and Jason deserved that.”
Besides his immediate family, Caudill learned he has a lot of nieces, nephews and cousins.
“He’s pretty overwhelmed and happy,” Allen said.
Hearing about the occasion, the Royal Oak Mayor, Mike Fournier, stopped by to introduce himself.
“That was a really big deal for him to have his dad and an important person come,” Allen said. “It was probably one of the best days of his life.”