(MURPHYSBORO) WSIL — Most people would wait until after Thanksgiving to start putting up Christmas decorations. But Danny O’Rourke and Sean Baldwin couldn’t wait any longer.
That’s because this year is the first time both brothers got to put up decorations together. One of many firsts.
"Well he’s a little bit taller than me," O’Rourke said. "So it’s easy for him to get around the tree, so I was like, ‘you get the high part.’"
For the past three weeks, the two have been busy catching up and bonding through simple acts like walking Baldwin’s dog, Atia.
"Me and Atia have been together…that’s been my right hand. Without her I would not have made it," Baldwin said.
They talked about Baldwin’s arduous journey, starting when he was given up for adoption at birth. He spent time in and out of 52 Illinois foster homes, and 18 institutions. Baldwin joined in the Marines at 16 years old, the last time anyone heard from him.
Forty years later, Sean decides to reach out to any family he had left in Illinois via Facebook Messenger. He found his half brother, who gave him O’Rourke’s phone number.
A train ticket and a cab ride later, the two are together as one.
"It was funny because he gets out of the cab and said, ‘you got 25 bucks I gotta pay the cab.’" O’Rourke recalled.
Their next objective is finding a home, and to help Baldwin claim life insurance benefits from his second wife’s death. The incident created major financial issues for him.
"I just feel bad that he had to go through all that. Wish I could’ve been there," O’Rourke said.
"Now you are," his brother responded.
"Me coming back to Illinois was the shock of my life," Baldwin said. "I mean, I never thought I’d be coming back home."
"He ain’t going nowhere. Nope, he ain’t going nowhere," O’Rourke responded.