WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Six strangers went out of their way to help make a local woman’s Christmas a little extra special. It was a gift she’ll remember for the rest of her life.
“It’s just amazing,” Maryellen Pate said. “It’s a Christmas miracle to me.”
It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving when Pate got a card in the mail from a man she’d never met.
“Said he had friends that have a World War II U.S. soldiers history museum in their home in Belgium and they had found what seemed to be my father’s WWII laundry bag when they were going through some boxes,” she said.
They emailed back and forth. Pate was connected with the couple who owned the museum. The only problem was getting the bag to the U.S.
“They didn’t like sending things through the Postal Service because they had many things stolen because there’s a big black market, especially for American WWII memorabilia,” Pate said.
One day, it just so happened that another couple from Georgia was having a private tour of this museum.
“They were having tea with a couple who owned the museum and they mentioned daddy’s bag,” Pate said. “They brought it back to the states and said they could bring it to me.”
The box landed on her doorstep last Friday morning — something Pate still can’t believe.
“I was still skeptical up until the minute I opened that box.”
Her father, Harold, went into the Army in 1941 and didn’t talk much about his time there.
“He always said the things that he saw over there were just too terrible to talk to women and children about,” Pate said.
The bag has helped her learn a little bit more about her father — and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“My dad’s been gone for almost 15 years now and tomorrow would be his birthday.”
Christmas will be a little different for Pate as some of her five children, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren won’t be able to make it home this year.
“It doesn’t make up for them not being here but it makes it a little bit easier.”
It’s all thanks to six people she’s never met.
“It’s just so special to think that total strangers would do something like this for someone they don’t know.”