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United Problem Solvers™: Reuniting a Veteran’s Son with His Father’s Priceless Mementos
  • 27 February 2017
  • Nicole Cox

United Problem Solvers™: Reuniting a Veteran’s Son with His Father’s Priceless Mementos

At The UPS Store, United Problem Solvers isn’t just a slogan – it’s the way we work. Every day, we encounter new business challenges posed by our customers and we work tirelessly to identify solutions. Oftentimes, these solutions are professional in nature but in the case of customer Tim Burchell, this time it was personal.

Tim’s father, Carl, was a Navy veteran who died of cancer back in 1988. When Tim’s stepmother died in 2012, his stepsiblings gathered up many of his father’s belongings, packaged them in a box and brought them to The UPS Store, owned and operated by franchisee Randy Holst in Golden Valley, Minn.

After several failed attempts to deliver the box, it was returned to The UPS Store for an incorrect address. Randy made it his personal mission to get these mementos back to the family.

“The original description of the package was a flag in a case and miscellaneous photographs so I knew the package contained family memorabilia,” said Holst. “Since it contained a service member’s flag, I figured that either someday I would find someone from the family or that they would come looking for it.”

While nowadays The UPS Store always requests a receiver’s phone number, four years ago Holst did not have a phone number to contact. He sent postcards to both the sender’s and recipient’s addresses and even tried the “old fashioned” phone book but no luck.

Knowing the nature of the package and that it contained family heirlooms, memories and items from a veteran’s service made him continue to search. Randy contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs. He sent out more than 40 messages on Facebook and other social media sites to people with potential ties to Burchell. About once a month Randy would search for the family online. He continued this search for four years.

“Typically, if a package is of minimal value, we will hold onto it for 12-18 months. But I knew this one was really irreplaceable which is why I didn’t give up.”

Finally, through Facebook, Randy found a person in Minnesota with a hyphenated name similar to the sender that had a friend with a hyphenated name that was the same as the receiver in Florida. Randy sent a message request asking if she knew Tim Burchell.  She responded back with Tim’s phone number and she ended up being Tim’s wife.  Randy called Tim on Jan 4th 2017 and after four years, finally reunited Tim with his late father’s keepsakes on January 6th, 2017.

Tim opened the box to find letters from Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan thanking his father for his service to our country, the military flag from his father’s funeral, his father’s dog tags, old family photos, newspaper clippings and a game of Scrabble that his dad played quite often with his wife. All very fond memories for Tim and his family.

Tim was so grateful to Randy, he posted this Facebook message. This story has gotten positive media coverage from news outlets across the country, including a recent pick up by the Associated Press.

For Randy, solving problems is all in a day’s work.

“I treated these items like they were my own. As an individual business owner, I always try to solve the problem for my customers.”

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