U-Haul Helps Reunite Spartanburg Family with Memorial Flag

Feb 15, 2017

Finding a Relic

In a joint effort by U-Haul Moving & Storage of Federal Way and two local CBS affiliates, a Spartanburg family has been reunited with a memorial flag. The long-lost memento that somehow ended up in a U-Haul trailer 2,700 miles away.

At the start of October, U-Haul customer service representative Nick Bell was cleaning out a U-Haul trailer. It had been abandoned in a Seattle-parking lot overnight. As he was searching, he found something that peaked his interest.

A simple wooden box lie among the discarded items that were headed for the dump. Encased in the box was a World War II memorial flag that honored the life and service of a dedicated veteran.

“The U-Haul trailer was full of trash and spoiled food. When the flag caught my eye, I immediately knew that it had been misplaced,” Bell said. “Since some things should never be thrown away, I knew it was important. I had to get this heirloom back to its Gold Star family.”

Home Sweet Home

With the help of Seattle-based KIRO 7 News, Bell and general manager Michael Smith learned that the flag belonged to Donald Wilcox. Wilcox was a World War II paratrooper who had passed away in 1994.

“The two wanted to help get the flag to the family, so they called me to help,” KIRO 7 reporter Jesse Jones said. “I located the Wilcox family in Spartanburg, South Carolina and sent them the flag.”

WSPA 7 News, another CBS-affiliate in South Carolina, was on hand to make sure the flag was received. Robert Wilcox, Donald’s brother and the last living sibling of six, was thankful to get the flag back.

“I appreciate it so much,” Wilcox said to KIRO 7 News. “I’m not sure how that flag ended up in that trailer, but that really doesn’t matter now. I thank you so much for bringing it to me. It’s real nice and it does mean a lot to me.”

This goes to show how caring U-Haul Team Members strive to go the extra mile for customers. Sometimes that means going out of their way to assist a customer on the phone, at the counter or in the parking lot of a U-Haul store. And sometimes that means finding a World War II veteran-issued flag amid discarded items in the back of a trailer and seeing that a missing relic finds its home across the country.

“U-Haul supports and honors all veterans because without these men and women, our country would not be what it is today,” U-Haul general manager Michael Smith said. “I can’t tell you how good it feels to give this family back something so special.”

To see how U-Haul is helping veterans in your community visit our In the Community section.

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