10 On Your Side helps recover ashes of Hampton man’s father

10 On Your Side

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Since the coronavirus pandemic began, another devastating side effect has emerged for grieving families: they may not get to say goodbye or mourn together. 

Rashad Houston of Hampton lost his father, Rodney Long, to coronavirus in late April, and then almost lost what little he had left to remember him by. 

“My father was already hospitalized, already sick for a few years,” Houston said. “Then he got COVID-19 while he was in the hospital.”

The hospital is in Massachusetts, so Houston could not see him before his death or mourn in person with his family. 

In early June, his stepmother sent a box containing Long’s bible, an angel figurine and cremated remains.

Two days later, as Houston tracked the package, he saw a notification that horrified him. 

“It said ‘discarded,'” he said. “I was devastated, I fell to my knees, I cried.”

When Houston called the shipping company, he said an employee told him the reason for discarding the package was that something had shattered inside the box.

Houston wrote about his pain on social media and reached out to 10 On Your Side for help. 

Within hours, WAVY News 10 investigative producer Adrienne Mayfield was able to determine the package had been marked to discard, but had not been thrown away. 

That same day, the package arrived at Houston’s door.

“The community helped me and made this happen; WAVY made this happen,” he said. “I’m grateful, because people care.”

Houston’s package was sent through a carrier that does not ship human remains, but the United States Postal Service will handle them.

Visit USPS.com to find out more about shipping rules and regulations. 

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