CARENCRO, La. (KLFY) – For 35 years, Eddie Helling never knew his daughter Courtney Burleigh existed until April of this year.

He decided to surprise her and introduce himself for the first time today.

Courtney decided to go on Ancestory.Com to figure out who he was. The cite led her to her grandmother who gave her father’s phone number. She then called him and asked to speak with Eddie.

“I said ‘well who is your grandmother?’ She told me her grandmother’s name which is my mom, so I said ‘okay’,” Helling said.

Helling said he had an idea something was up when his mother reached out to him the day before saying, “My mom called me the day before wanting to know why I never told her the big secret. Well it wasn’t a secret because I never knew.”

Burleigh said she is excited to have a father and for her children to know who he is as well.

“He has seven beautiful grandchildren. That he also didn’t know about that didn’t have a grandfather and now they do,” Burleigh said.

Helling said he is so happy to know about the daughter he never had and is ready to make up for lost time.

“I hate that I didn’t know,” Helling said. “Whatever time we do have left here I hope I’ll never make it up to her but I will make the best of it.

Both Courtney and Eddie say they are excited to see what life has in store for them as they will continue to stay in contact for years to come.