Following an original report in November, one northern Arizona thrift store is looking to unite several letterman jackets with their intended owners.
“I remember designing [my letterman jacket] but never saw the final product so when I saw it, it was mind blowing,” said Mottley to ABC15 in November. “When he sent me the picture of it, I knew it was mine instantly.”
“So, I get into this store and I’m literally walking around and the first thing I see is this bright red jacket hanging,” said Jed’s brother Josh.
The jacket had the name "Jed" stitched on it, "Class of 94" near the pocket, and the patches he’d picked out on the sleeves. It was reunited with Jed shortly after the discovery.
It turns out the thrift store, Veterans Village in the Pinetop area, had more letterman jackets.
“The place was like, we thought this was weird, we just thought they were sample jackets,” said Josh at the time.
That’s because in 2019, Veterans Village got a donation from a man whose Mesa business had recently shut down.
“He brought us an eight-by-ten trailer full of patches and jackets,” said Maggie Heath of Veterans Village.
Many of the jackets, like Jed’s, had names, graduation dates and of course the patches students had worked so hard to earn.
“A lot of kids never got these jackets; we thought they were displays or samples and then when Josh found his brothers jacket, it was like, oh my gosh, we had sold hundreds of these jackets,” said Heath.
Heath said she quickly put what remained aside. Following ABC15's original story, she was flooded with calls from people hoping for a similar miracle.
“They jump up and down and scream and holler,” said Heath.
So far, four others have identified and picked up their jackets from the thrift store free of charge. Another woman who now lives out of state had hers found as well and plans to pick it up in the next few months.
"To see the joy on these people's faces when they get them and they hug them and they love them, and they’re just so excited because they said "you know I couldn’t get it and never thought I’d see this again,"" said Heath.
It’s been an incredibly rewarding turn of events and one that has made this holiday season that much better.
“It’s just an emotional bounce for everybody, it’s just an extreme pleasure to give these jackets to these people,” said Heath.
If you think a jacket you made but never picked up could be among them, contact Maggie Heath via email or via phone at 602-689-8056.
Be prepared to provide details of what the jacket looked like, was made out of, and any other information that could make it easier to identify. Not all of the jackets have names or patches, so school colors and design can be important.