WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – WINSTON-More than 60 years after Mal Osborn earned a varsity letter jacket from the University of Maine as a track runner, he still wore it. That is, until the 92-year-old lost it in October.
Osborn, who has lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, since 1964, told his daughter Beverly Amick that he couldn't find the treasured jacket, the Bangor Daily News reported on Monday. Amick and other relatives retraced Osborn's usual routes on the assumption that he'd placed the jacket on his car and it had fallen off while he was driving.
When they failed to find it, Amick posted a photo of Osborn on Facebook wearing the jacket at a Master's swimming competition in 2016 and asked for help finding it.
“This man would be ecstatic if this well loved (sic) jacket was found,” she wrote in the post that was shared more than 1,000 times.
Osborn ran long-distance track and cross-country events from 1949-52 at the University of Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. He told the newspaper the letter jacket had become a part of him after so many years.
“I just know how much it meant to him,” Amick told The Associated Press. “I was going to do everything in my power to find it.”
Amick said she got an email from a woman who lived near her father and had found the coat in her yard, covered with leaves.
Osborn has been sporting the jacket since Amick had it dry-cleaned and returned it to him, she said.
“As challenging as this year has been, this has given us some hope,” she said.
It was especially poignant given the difficult year everyone has experienced.
“I appreciate all the kindness and compassion that was shown during the last 24 hours. This experience is certainly a positive event to finish out 2020," she wrote on Facebook after the jacket had been found.