BOYD, Texas — When Boyd Mayor Rodney Holmes was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, it uncovered something far more shocking.
“I’d been lied to for 52, 53 years,” Holmes said. “I’m like, ‘what’s going on here? Something’s not right.’”
Growing up, Holmes had always been told that the man who raised him, Ronald Holmes, was not his biological father.
Instead, it was a Vietnam veteran he’s never known named Dave Warren.
Holmes was certain his heart trouble must’ve come from his dad and wanted to know more about his family’s health history. So a few years ago, he took a DNA test to try and find his biological father.
“The main surprise to me was getting the email from my half-sister, Tonna, who I didn’t know existed," Holmes said.
“I remember meeting him and touching his face like, ‘oh my gosh, this is as close as I’m going to get to my dad,’” said Holmes’ sister, Tonna Edwards.
Edwards lives in Georgia, and as far as she knew, her dad died in Vietnam.
Holmes told her, though, their father actually made it home alive and his name was Dave Warren.
To confirm it, they found Warren’s family. One of his children took a DNA test, which proved they were not related. Holmes was stunned.
“My entire life I’ve been told, ‘he’s your father,’” Holmes said. “And all of a sudden I find out it wasn’t. So that’s when I went and talked to my mom and she gave me the name Dale Lusk.”
Army sergeant Dale Lusk had a brief relationship with Holmes’ mom before shipping off to Vietnam. That’s where he fell in love with a young Vietnamese-French woman, who eventually gave birth to Edwards.
Long before that, however, Lusk was injured in a helicopter crash and abruptly sent away from Vietnam for treatment. He never saw the woman he loved again and never knew she was pregnant until 53 years later, when Holmes and Edwards finally found him.
“It’s like when you’re 70 years old somebody walks in the door and says, ‘here’s a million dollars,’” Lusk said.
This time, DNA testing confirmed Lusk was, indeed, their father.
“Just to hear his voice is a blessing,” Edwards said, with tears streaming down her face.
They all met for the first time last summer and are already planning the next reunion.
“I’m very blessed by the Lord cause I have a 'Pops' who created me, and I have a 'Dad' who raised me,” Holmes said. “I thank the Lord every day for both of them.”
When his health was in question, Holmes searched for an answer and found just what his heart needed.