EXCLUSIVE: An everlasting friendship built on the heels of war

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After 54 years, two vets reunite with the help of destiny and a family friend

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — It’s a friendship that started decades ago, one that through fate was built on the heels of war.

For decades, the two veterans wondered what happened to one another, after 54 years of wondering, each one was able to reunite with one another.

“We went into basic together, we took basic training, and then that was for eight weeks and then we went to Ft. Polk, Louisiana. And we were there nine weeks, and I’ve always told people that I had one real friend, and a dear friend, and is a friend. And his name is Michael Haddix. So we were separated from then on, and then when I came home, and I always asked my wife, I said, I wonder, did Mike make it back?” said Charles King, a veteran who for years wondered if his friend ever made it back.

“When you’re going through basic training, and you think am I ever going to make it? Well, he was always there to lift me up,” said Michael Haddix, Charles’ friend in the military.

For the two veterans, having each other during a time of solitude was pivotal.

“If we were in training or whatever we had to do something that was pretty tough. Okay, if we could help one another to do that,” added King.

After building their friendship, the veterans were then separated to fulfill their duties as soldiers by serving their country in Vietnam.

“I go through the same thing that that he did when when we come home, you wonder did he wonder Charles made it?” — Mike.

For more than five decades, the pair continued to wonder if the other ever made it back home.

Betty Baldwin, a family friend of the King’s works in genealogy, after hearing the story of Michael decided to track him down. After several days, Baldwin was able to get in contact with Mike’s son.

“Charles said, I had a really good friend, and he lived in Mount Sterling, when when we went into service, I don’t know if he still lives there and I don’t know if he made it back. It took us two or three weeks to actually meet. And the day that we met I didn’t think anything about it, I was just gonna drop them off and let them visit. I didn’t think it was gonna be like this. And it just, it just exploded,” says Betty.

A reunion years in the making, shared over and over again on social media, with pictures that can only capture a fraction of the emotions between Haddix and King.

“I grabbed him and hugged him. And I know enough after I said, I just thank the Lord that you made it,” said Charles.

As they share memories of war and experiences they’ve had throughout five decades, the pair teaches the world the true meaning of the word friend.

“A friend is a friend, and I don’t know why I don’t know what else to say other than I have always loved Michael Haddix for being my friend, because we help one another in the time of need,” said Charles.

The friends have yet to hangout but plan to do so soon.

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