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Embracing Brothers

A Heartfelt Reunion: Two Brothers Connect After 20 Years

Posted on October 16, 2013 by Atria Senior Living

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In 1989, Bruce Brown suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body. Although he lost his ability to walk and speak, he was able to teach himself how to paint with his left hand. A true model of determination and endurance, Bruce Brown proved that being a stroke victim would not define him. Instead, he became an artist and a survivor. 


Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown, Atria San Juan resident.

Bruce Brown, Atria San Juan resident.As Engage Life Director at Atria San Juan, Gigi Mauter caught wind that Bruce Brown, a resident at the community, still held one wish close to his heart. Bruce hadn’t seen his brother, Bob, in more than 20 years and he wasn’t sure if he was even alive.

Gigi made it her personal mission to find Bruce’s brother.

She started scouring the Internet. Admittedly, finding a man named Bob Brown was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Her search caught a major break when she tracked down Bruce’s former wife, who connected her with Bruce’s nephew.

His nephew proved to be just the link Gigi needed to find Bob.

On Saturday, June 1, 2013, the two brothers were finally reunited after 20 years. Gigi helped make Bruce’s wish come true.

Embracing Brothers

The two brothers embrace each other after being separated for over 20 years.

She described the reunion as “very emotional and moving...” Residents and staff at San Juan anticipated the arrival of Bob and were excited to celebrate alongside the brothers. “As soon as the two made eye contact, the tears began to flow and they embraced each other,” said Gigi.

Bob, Gigi Mauter, and Bruce

Bob, Gigi Mauter, and Bruce.

Even though Bruce is unable to walk or speak, the two brothers immediately connected and shared photos together on Bruce’s iPad.

When asked what compelled Gigi to help Bruce and Bob reunite, she said, “I have a passion to make wishes come true for the people in our community. It is one of the many things that brings meaning to my job at Atria.”

From the efforts of one committed and driven Engage Life Director, two brothers made a newfound and lifelong connection.

Bob and Bruce

Bob Brown and Bruce Brown.


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