Valley veteran searching for Navy patches after accidentally donating them to Goodwill

Posted at 7:27 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 23:45:49-04

A Valley veteran is reaching out to the community for help, after an accidental donation of valuable Navy patches to Goodwill.

Retired Naval Aviator Mark Hughes and his family have been packing up to relocate to California. In the chaos of moving, they accidentally donated several bags full of Navy patches to the Goodwill located on 19th Avenue and Happy Valley Road.

Hughes says he did not realize the mistake until he got a call from a kind stranger.

"I thought it was kind of a hoax at first, then I saw the pictures she sent and I was just shocked, wondering how these ended up at the Goodwill," said Hughes.

He received some of the patches while in flight school, others while serving with different squadrons. Every single one of them had a memory and sentiment attached to it.

"You know obviously it was my loss, my stupidity. I donated these on accident, but if someone does find them I would greatly appreciate it if they could reach out to your station, or to me and return it. It is the sentimental value. I have three kids I hoped to pass these on too," said Hughes.

Cheri Pyles was the good Samaritan who just happened to be shopping at Goodwill when she noticed the Navy patches.

"It was just somebody's life in there," said Pyles.

She thought of purchasing them, but then put them down and took pictures instead. After some sleuthing, and with the help of a name on one patch, Pyles was able to track Hughes down via social media.

"It was definitely very kind. I definitely appreciated her efforts to reach out to a complete stranger and share this information. I am very grateful," said Hughes.

ABC15 Arizona reached out to Goodwill officials who said their policy and procedures dictated that they do not typically put any military badges or patches out on the floor for sale. Instead they tried to work with veterans groups to figure out who they may have belonged to, in this case a Goodwill spokesperson said the bags may have slipped through the cracks. She added that they take this very seriously.

Goodwill asks any customer who may have purchased these and wishes to get them back to their owner to call customer service at 1-877-200-8500.

You can also reach out to reporter Sonu Wasu at who can get word to Hughes.