Mysterious Photo Found Buried In Closet Sparks Search For Rightful Owner.

Photos capture memories and allow us to revisit those moments in time. This is why when a treasured photo is lost or damaged, it can be hard to deal with.

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But when by chance a treasured photo returns — cue your victory dance!

Staff at Sunbelt Rentals in South Carolina were recently cleaning out a closet at their headquarters when workers stumbled upon a mystery photo. It was a black and white four-by-six-inch photo with browned edges showing what appeared to be a military ceremony.

“It became a mystery, and we were just like, ‘Alright, we’ve got to figure this out,'” said Chris Dyches, social media manager for Sunbelt Rentals.

The old photo also had a handwritten message in the bottom right corner that read: “With love, your brother Joe.”

Chris posted the photo on LinkedIn with the hope that someone could help them identify the people in the photo. Seeing the handwritten note added even more sentimental value and Chris set out to get answers.

“These are the types of photos that when you have them — they’re special,” he said.

Well, it worked. About 45 minutes after he posted the mystery photo, he got a response.

Lisa Coyne noticed the post and made sure her aunt, Kathy Gorton, saw it. Kathy worked for Sunbelt Rentals years ago. 

Kathy confirmed that the man receiving the award in the photo was her father, Joe Wateski. Joe flew 62 combat missions in World War II. Kathy couldn’t believe they found this photo after all this time.

“It’s just such a miracle that people I don’t know found that photo, posted it, and looked for me,” Kathy said.

She said having the photo back is even more meaningful as she does not have that many photos of her father.

“We had this great scrapbook, but in 1972 there was a flood named ‘Agnes’ which took our home,” she recalled.

Kathy was so grateful to see the photo: “It’s invaluable. To have the original is incredible.”

It’s funny how things can come back to us unexpectedly. And when they do, they’re even more special.

Be sure to share this story to celebrate Kathy’s reunion with her beloved father’s picture.

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