ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It’s been a strange 96th year for Chet Lebrun. The World War II veteran survived Hurricane Irma, beat eviction, and got a new home, thanks to his neighbors.
So what could his friends possibly get him for the 97th birthday? How about a gift he hasn’t seen in more than a decade.
"He's been wanting to see his daughter for years,” said friend Karen Bingham. "I don't think he has seen her in 15, 20 years."
Linda, his now 70-year-old daughter, has been living in London, England. It’s difficult and expensive for either of them to travel, so they just haven’t been able to see one another.
That changed Thursday. Chet’s friends flew Linda into town and surprised Chet with his daughter at his birthday party.
It took Chet a moment to recognize her after all that time, but when he did the two quickly hugged with tears in their eyes.
"What a big surprise! I'm really glad,” said Lebrun.
Chet first made headlines in February when he was facing eviction from his mobile home. At 96, he was unable to make repairs to the structure, after Hurricane Irma, and was nearly out of options. Those same friends gathered the community though and raised the funds to get Chet a new home in Auburndale.
Now, starting his 97th year with a sturdy home and his daughter back by his side, Chet said he couldn’t be happier.