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Brother and Sister Meet for the First Time on the Job | News

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Brother and Sister Meet for the First Time on the Job

Mr. Butler is a guidance counselor at Rosa Parks Elementary. Miss Hanna is a teacher.

Butler, a Louisiana native, has worked at the Prince George's County school for six years. Hanna began teaching there last fall.

But, in what seemed like an instant, they went from Mr. Butler the guidance counselor and Miss Hanna the teacher to Victor and Amancia - brother and sister.

They have the same father. Amancia Hanna has known for all of a week. Victor Butler just found out Thursday. It's a long story, but an incredible one.

Hanna was born in Panama and grew up in North Carolina.

Her mom did not tell her much, only a name - James Butler - and that during a tour in Panama with the U.S. Navy he met Hanna's mother, whom he had a brief affair with.

"I was always looking and trying to find him but 'James Butler' is a very common name so I didn't get very far," she said.

After decades of wondering, in November, she turned to the internet and submitted DNA to Ancestry.com - a website of family histories.

Last week, the website told her that her DNA matched the DNA of another ancestry member. That member turned out to be a cousin she had never known - James Butler's nephew.

She dug deeper into the website.

"I was still looking and then I came across 'James Butler' and there's a picture of him. I click it and there he is, very young, probably 18 or 19 [years old]. In the background there are all these naval ships and I said, 'oh my gosh, there he is. I have found my dad after all these years.' I couldn't believe it," said Hanna, still shocked.

She had always had an image of her father but until stumbling upon the picture of a young James Butler in his sailor's uniform, she never actually laid eyes on him.

"That was the first time I had ever seen pictures... just so many different emotions," explained a tearful Hanna.

But as soon as she found him, she lost him. Butler, her father, died in 2006.

"That really made me sad because I thought, I didn't even get to meet him. He didn't get to meet me. I was very sad and angry but then I thought about it and I thought, 'you still have all these other people that knew him and were close to him,'" said Hanna.

Including Butler's son. Once again, Hanna did not know much but had a name: Victor Butler. At first, it was just that, a name.

Then, this week, the DC area was hit by a snow storm that canceled schools for several days, including at Rosa Parks Elementary.

Hanna recalled, on one of those snow days, "I woke up and was thinking about all the things I had to do when I got back to school after the snow days and it just hit me: we have a school counselor named 'Butler' and I'm pretty sure his name is 'Victor.'"

After a little more research and inquiring with the cousin she connected with through ancestry.com they confirmed it: Victor Butler, her co-worker whom she had nothing more than a professional relationship with at Rosa Parks, was in fact her brother.

"I just started screaming, I said, 'no way, oh my God, that's Mr. Butler, that's my school counselor, we work at the same school!' What are the chances of that happening?" asked Hanna, excitedly.

Then, for a moment, she had two more thoughts. The first made her laugh: "Oh no and he already thinks I'm crazy."

While the second worried her: "How do you go up to someone and say, 'hey, guess what? You're my brother.'"

She decided to walk right into his office on the first day back to school.

Butler recalled, "She said, 'well, is your dad James Butler?' I said, 'yeah.' She said, 'is he in the Navy?' I said, 'yeah.' She said, 'is he from Louisiana?' I said, 'yeah.' I mean it just got so bizarre and then she didn't go any further and just said, 'that's my dad.'"

Still in shock and a bit confused, Butler admitted, "I don't know if she's 'Miss Hanna' or my sister, Miss Hanna - I don't know, I don't know."

"He's the guidance counselor and I'm the teacher in the classroom," said Hanna.

But, now, it's more than just that. Now, they're family.

"It's an amazing experience. Now it's, 'where do we go from here?' That's kind of what we're doing here," said Butler, as the two sat next to each other on a couch in his home. "What happened is what happened. What is, is what is and now we move forward. I have a sister," he continued, smiling, placing his hand on Hanna's shoulder.

"I have my brother," she returned, "and we work together and I can't wait to meet the rest of the family."

A big family. She's gaining dozens of uncles, aunts and cousins that Butler plans to introduce her to this spring at a family reunion.

Hanna said, "It's been a journey and I have enjoyed every minute of it. And it's just starting."