NEW PARIS — Sergio Goff always thought he only had one older brother. That changed two weeks ago when he received a phone call from Frank Gasko.
Goff initially thought it was a prank until Gasko told him the truth: he was his oldest brother. It was a conversation 21 years in the making.
“I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say,” Goff said.
Gasko, 27, and Goff, 21, are two of 11 kids who were born of the same mother. One was a stillborn, leaving 10 children alive. All 10 were adopted by other parents, with only one — Gasko — staying within the family. He was adopted by his great grandmother.
Goff and his sister, Teresa, were adopted by the same family when Goff was four years old. They were separated from their brother, Randy Klaudusz. This was the only brother Goff thought he had until Gasko reached out to him.
“We have our brother, Randy, to thank for this. I really don’t know how exactly he did it. I was in Lima, Ohio and (Gasko’s aunt) messaged me on Facebook and said, ‘You need to call me because there’s some things you need to know,’” Gasko said. “Obviously, I called her up and she said she had been on the phone all night with our sister, Teresa, and had talked to Randy for quite a while and they knew where Sergio was. (Theresa) gave me (Sergio’s) number.”
For Gasko, this was another step toward a void being filled.
Four years prior, Gasko was shopping for new boots for his wedding when he accidently bumped into a woman at the store. As soon as the woman went to apologize, she stopped.
“She all of a sudden looked at me, put her hand on me and said, ‘You’re Frank Gasko.’ And I was like, ‘Uh, yeah. I am.’ And she instantly started crying,” Gasko said. “She said, ‘I think it’s time.’ I said, ‘For?’ And she’s like, ‘Do you have a few (minutes)?’ And I was like, ‘I do now.’”
The woman then told him the five kids she was with were his younger siblings. They live in South Bend with their new family, meaning Gasko knew where seven of his nine siblings were.
“I just started crying. It’s pretty emotional now just thinking about it,” Gasko said. “Just to know that everybody has made it out of the (adoption) system or making it out of the system is a blessing.”
While Gasko was finding closure, Goff was trying to find Randy. At age 10, he did everything he could to track down the one brother he thought he had.
“I went online to try and gather any information I could and couldn’t find anything. I even went as far as purchasing a South Bend phone book just to see if I could find Randy because he was the only brother I had known about. I still couldn’t find him,” Goff said. “The last known location of Randy was Farmland, so I went and bought a Farmland, Indiana phone book.”
Goff eventually found Randy, who then helped him connect to Gasko.
After connecting over the phone, Goff traveled from New Castle to Goshen to see his new oldest brother.
“That weekend, regardless of what funds I had, I came down here to meet him,” Goff said.
The two have bonded over everything, including racing. Gasko is in his third full regular season racing at the New Paris Speedway. He’s been apart of five “Night of Destruction” events at the race track as well.
“I’d say it isn’t as much the racing as it is the friends and family-like atmosphere,” Gasko said. “I never really had my own family, so I always try to treat good people like family. I’ve met a lot of good people here.”
Where Gasko found racing, Goff discovered the military. After leaving his adoption family at 15, Goff was lost. He met a representative from the United States Army when he was 18, though, and decided to enlist. He’s been in the Army National Guard for a little over three years.
“It’s not so much the Army. It’s going there and having a band of brothers who would lay down their life for you and I’d do the same for them,” Goff said.
Nine of the 10 siblings have now re-connected, leaving one left. Gasko believes the last sibling lives in New Jersey, but he’s not sure how he’d be able to find them.
“It would be the missing piece. It would be incredible, but I’m just not sure how to go about it,” Gasko said.
For now, however, Gasko and Goff are just worried about making up for lost time.
“My whole life, it’s like I had an empty hole inside of my soul,” Goff said. “Now that I’m finally picking up the pieces and gathering the information, I feel like I’m a whole new person.”
Austin Hough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-533-2151, ext. 325. Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinHoughTGN