This is a Valentine story that I hope will warm your heart and compel you to go see a locally produced movie showing at the Portland International Film Festival.
It's called "Where's Molly?"
It's the story of a brother and sister separated nearly 50-years ago, then reunited.
Their story goes much deeper than that. It also has served to reunite other families, and prompted a new Oregon law, "Molly's law", making it easier for other families with loved ones who were insitutionalized to be reunited.
Jeff and Molly Daly grew up in Astoria. Jeff was six years old when his three year old sister, Molly, mysteriously disappeared.
Molly had been diagnosed as developmentaly disabled. Many doctors at the time encouraged parents with severely disabled children to send them to an institution.
Molly was sent to Fairview Center in Salem, then called The Institution for The Feeble Minded, where she lived her life, isolated and without her family.
Jeff grew up wondering where Molly went. When his parents died three years ago, he went on a quest for Molly.
He cut through the red tape of privacy laws, and found Molly had been moved to a group home in Hillsboro.
He and Molly reunited, and we told you about their story in 2005. Now, Jeff, a professional cameraman has turned his search for Molly into a film documentary, "Where's Molly?"
(below Jeff and Molly Daly as we shot our follow-up story in February 2007)
When we aired Molly's story, Jeff West of Portland was watching. As he watched, he told his wife, "Hey, I had a brother at Fairview."
Jeff West called me, and I put him in touch with Jeff Daly.
Daly helped West contact the right people, and just a few days later,Jeff West had found his brother, Ricky, in a group home in Eastern Oregon.
The Wests have also now reunited with their brother.
We will feature Molly's story and the West family story on Newschannel 8 at 11pm on Valentine's Day,Wednesday February 14th.
(above... Emmy winning Newschannel 8 photographer, Kurt Austin, shoots our story on Jeff and Molly)
You can also see the documentary, "Where's Molly?" at the Portland International Film Festival. It will be screened Saturday night, February 17th at 6:30 at the Whitsell Auditorium and again Monday night, February 19th at the Broadway Regal theater.
There's ticket information at www.nwfilm.org. Click on PIFF.
Molly's story is a valentine to others with disabilities that they will also find acceptance, and a valentine to us all that demonstrates the value of human life and the strength of a brother's love.