In his prime, Mal Osborn was a college athlete who lettered in track and field nine times.
These days, the 92-year-old lives a quiet life in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but he still keeps a fond reminder of his glory days with him at all times. He’s been wearing his letterman jacket from the University of Maine for close to 70 years now, and it means the world to him.
Mal competed in track and cross country for the University of Maine from 1949-1952. “I ran the mile, half mile, two mile, and relays,” he told WFMY. “It’s an antique, because I’ve had it for 70 years. That coat I still use… and people comment on it — didn’t believe I really ran track!”
But one day in October, he must have tossed the jacket on top of his car and forgotten about it before driving off, losing the keepsake he had proudly sported for decades. When he mentioned the loss to his daughter, Beverly Osborn Amick, she knew she had to help him find it.
“I know how much this coat meant to my dad,” Beverly said. “And he very nonchalantly mentioned to me that he misplaced his coat, and I thought, well, it’s going to show up because how many people have a University of Maine track letter jacket from 1952? It has ‘Mal’ on the front of it.”
The two of them spent weeks looking for the jacket, but no one had seen it. Finally, Beverly posted a picture of her dad wearing the coat on Facebook and asked for help finding it. After her friends encouraged her to make the post public, she couldn’t believe how fast the news spread!
“So, I went into my settings to make it public and then all of a sudden… my daughter messages me at 6 o’clock and says, ‘Mom, you have 1,000 shares!’” Beverly explained.
After that, it took just one day before someone came forward with information. It turns out a complete stranger had found it in their yard, covered with leaves, the day after Halloween. They kept it just in case someone came forward to claim it. Talk about good luck!
Beverly got the jacket back and had it dry-cleaned before returning it to her dad, who was incredibly grateful to have his cherished memento back. He was also impressed by the power of social media!
Getting the jacket back thanks to the kindness of others was just the pick-me-up they needed in this difficult season. “As challenging as this year has been, this has given us some hope,” Beverly said.
(Photo courtesy of Beverly Amick Facebook)