This amazing story started 30 years ago in Junction city, Kansas. Chris Mathis is the owner of a pawn shop. One day, he was going through his grandfather’s desk drawer when he discovered a large envelope full of old U.S. saving bonds. Since then, he became determined to track down their owners.
“I did some research and found that they were all fully matured. I thought that all the old Veterans from Fort Riley that pawned them all those years ago would be interested to know that they had been found and could now be cashed in,” Mathis said “Some were as easy as typing a name into an internet telephone directory and making a phone call, others were much tougher.”
One man Mathis said that he remained unidentified, all he knew about him was his last name: Woodrow. It was diffult to find him, so he hired a private investigator to track down Woodrow so he can give him back the bonds, which have now matured to $3,000.
Back in 1981, Woodrow, who was 21-year-old the, purchased the bonds when he was stationed at Fort Riley, a local U.S. Army base.
The investigator found out that Woodrow has been homeless for the past 3 years and is living in Chicago, but this is all what he could find about him. Mathis then made contact with every shelter in the area with no luck. Mathis said he couldn’t forget about Woodrow over the holidays.
WGN News heard he was often seen at the corner of Van Buren and LaSalle but the frigid temperatures left most off the unprotected blocks. Shelters were overflowing and those who knew of him say they hadn’t seen Woody in over a week.
Then few days later, WGN’s Erin Ivory was finally able to find him.
“Yes! I remember the pawn shop!” Woodrow said. The 58-year-old was surprised to learn that his $100 bonds had now matured to $3,000.
“You could use $3,000, right?”
“Yeah! Yeah!” he replied, but his face remained skeptical.
Erin then called Chris and passed the phone to Woodrow to speak with him: “She told me about it but I thought this was some kind of scam,,” the homeless man said. “This is huge for me. I’m extremely grateful.”
Woodrow told the paper he hopes to use the money for housing and to find steady work.
“When I got the word that Woodrow had been found, a feeling of great relief came over me,” Mathis said. “I cannot imagine trying to survive a Chicago winter homeless. America’s veterans deserve better.”
Woodrow’s name was the last one in that drawer of bonds. Everything is as it should be.
Check out the video to see the heart-moving reaction of Woodrow as he received his saving bonds!
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