4 years ago, a package carrying mementos of a deceased veteran was returned after an unsuccessful delivery to Randy Holst’s UPS store in Golden Valley, Minnesota. When Randy, who is himself the son of a veteran, realized what was inside the box, he decided himself to going above and beyond to reunite the box with its rightful owner.
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After the box was returned to Holst’s store after several unsuccessful deliveries, decided he needed to open the box to see what was inside. He saw a framed military funeral flag, spent shell casings, a funeral registry book, newspaper clippings, drawings, and various military memorabilia. The name Carl Burnett Burchell was on several items in the box. He knew he couldn’t just throw that box away.
“You wouldn’t toss a memory like that,”Holst said. “I can’t imagine anyone would.â€
He called the Veteran’s Administration, but they were stumped. So he took it upon himself to start googling the name. He sent Facebook messages to more than 40 people with the name or names he thought could be related. Most of them went unanswered… until one day in January when a man in Georgia named Tim Burchell reached out! Randy had messaged Tim’s wife on Facebook 5 months earlier and finally got a response.
Tim confirmed that the items belong to his father who had died of cancer in 1988. After 4 years of searching, Randy had finally found the box’s home. “It was such an overwhelming feeling,” he said.
It turns out, Tim’s step-siblings had mailed the items to him at the wrong address back in 2012. They never mentioned sending the box to Tim, so he never knew to inquire about the missing delivery!
The same day Tim and Randy spoke, the box was delivered to his home.
Tim sent Randy a video of himself opening the box to Randy, along with a ‘thank you’ letter. “It’s just priceless,” he said, referring to the precious box. “Obviously, the flag is just a treasure trove right there.”
Randy finally got to hear the stories that went with each item. The game of Scrabble was what Carl used to play during his chemotherapy sessions. The newspaper clipping was from a time Carl dressed up as Santa. There were pieces of Halloween costumes, love poems, old family photos… even letters from President Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan thanking Carl for his service.
These family memories mean the world to Tim, and he’s even asked Randy to visit him in Georgia for vacation. “I want to make sure he gets the credit he deserves,” he said. “He’s what everybody should be… One little touch of kindness is contagious.”
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