My parents saved up all their money for three, four years before leaving Haiti and buying a dry cleaners in Boca Raton, said Yvenson, a former standout running back at Oregon State whose career took him through the NFL and into the Canadian Football League. We were living awesome up there. We were the only black people in our neighborhood. I actually drove a Porsche to high school. Then, mom got sick and everything changed. When she passed, my dad struggled, lost his business, everything. When I was in college, playing football and being the big man on campus, Gio had to deal with it all. They were living in real bad housing in the hood. I remember my old Xbox got chewed through by a rat. Gio definitely went through a lot more than I had to and hes come out on top.
Yvenson said his father is just starting to get back on his feet economically now and recently took ownership of another dry cleaners in Fort Lauderdale. Gios career, meanwhile, has started to take off.
Its hard to believe, but Saturdays game is going to be the first time were all together again since my senior night at Oregon State in 2007, said Yvenson, who pointed out that the last time the family had planned to get together was two years ago in Haiti, a day after the country was ravaged by an earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. The family obviously didnt make the trip.
Having my brother come back to Miami is a huge boost for my dad because well all be there together, Yvenson went on to say. Its tough to pull him away from work. He wakes up and goes to work at 5 a.m. every day and leaves at 10 at night.
But Saturday, the Bernards will finally reunite at Sun Life. Yvenson, who works on Oregon States football pre-game show for Comcast and does work for Nike, flew to South Florida from his home in Portland on Tuesday night. His father has promised to take a rare day off Saturday to be with his two sons.
Gio came out a little fatty I thought for sure he was going to be a linebacker, Yvenson said. Now I look at his running skills and say, Dang, I wish I was as good as that. Watching him definitely brings a sense of pride. Were all going to be proud no matter what on Saturday.