Lost and Found
Are the days of snail mail limited?
I certainly hope not. There is something incomparably romantic about sending and receiving mail. Even in a world where I can send the same message to a friend halfway around the globe in less than a second, I send out certain cards, pictures, and well-wishes with the old pen-and-paper approach we’ve been using for centuries.
Nothing beats the feeling of elation when you come home to find something unexpected waiting for you in the mail, especially when it’s not a package you drunkenly ordered on Amazon a day or two before. Mail is important, not only because of the element of surprise, but because of the intimacy that goes into writing, sending, and shipping a letter/present via the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, or the like.
But of course, this time-honored tradition of physical mail has one downside: Lost items. Many of us have seen the dreaded ‘return to sender’ pop up in our mailbox (I hope it wasn’t time-sensitive or a bill!). The worst scenario of all is when a package never reaches its destination.
Thankfully, one UPS store owner takes his job much more seriously than many in his profession might. When a box of veritable treasures from a late U.S. Navy veteran ended up lost in his store, he went to great lengths to return it to its rightful recipient, the dead veteran’s son.
Life probably gets repetitive as a UPS worker. Day in and day out, you receive packages, help pack packages, prepare them for shipping, ship them out, and deliver them. Depending on where along the line you come in, things probably begin to blend together.
So, it was both new and frustrating when Golden Valley, Minnesota UPS store owner, Randy Holst, had an undelivered package wind up at his store two years ago. After several failed attempts at delivery, some might abandon the package altogether, but in it, Randy found a purpose.
What’s in the box?
Determined to find a way to deliver the package, Randy opened the box.
Inside, he found a plethora of personal items and military memorabilia, including shell casings, newspaper articles, a Scrabble board, a funeral registry book, and, perhaps most importantly, a framed military funeral flag. Clearly, these were items that somebody had to be missing.
“You wouldn’t toss a memory like that,” Holst explained. “I can’t imagine anyone would.”
But, how to track down the intended owner?
After sorting through the package’s contents, Holst began an exhaustive search for the intended recipient.
On several of the box’s items, Holst saw the same name: Carl Burnett Burchell. Gathering what information he could, Holst knew Burchell to be a Navy veteran, so he first got in contact with the Veteran’s Administration, but he only found more dead ends.
Next, he turned to the Internet to search for more information on Carl or his relatives. Randy sent more than 40 Facebook messages to anyone he thought might give him a lead on the lost package, but it was all to no avail.
The effort seemed fruitless until this past January 4th. Keep reading!