Lima man reconnects with exchange student - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Lima man reconnects with exchange student

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Back during his high school days, now 61 year old Thompson traveled to Colombia through an exchange student program. Back during his high school days, now 61 year old Thompson traveled to Colombia through an exchange student program.

It was a reunion decades in the making.

"I've thought about what he's doing and how he's getting along, and just didn't know," says Lima resident Gene Thompson.

Back during his high school days, now 61 year old Thompson traveled to Colombia through an exchange student program. It was during his three months there that he met coffee bean farmer Gustavo Romero.

"Somebody say, Gene, hey Gustavo, speak English," says Romero. "I don't speak much English, but I bring my dictionary and I saw some words, and I start to speak with Gene."

The two hit it off, and at the end of his stay Thompson invited Romero to stay with his family in Hancock County. Romero spent a year working on a dairy farm and attending  classes with Thompson at Cory-Rawson High School, earning an honorary degree in the process. Over the years the pair lost touch, but were able to reconnect after over 40 years through the power of social media.

"My daughter Cindy, she made the first contact with Deb (Gene's wife)," says Romero. "It was a very good moment for me."

Now 65 years old, Romero and his wife, Gladys Moya, traveled to the Thompsons' home in Lima to catch up on the lives they have lived since they parted ways. They have visited their old high school and the dairy farm Romero once worked on. The group has also spent time enjoying local favorites like Bluffton's Blaze of Lights and burgers from Kewpee.

"Just getting to see him again, and meeting his wife and seeing their children, it just seemed like we picked up right where we left off," says Thompson. "It was nice, we've been really tickled to see them and this is like a dream for them."

Thompson says he and his wife hope one day they can travel down to Romero's home in Colombia, but in the meantime they plan on staying in touch.

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