Acts of Kindness
Woman tracks down family after finding soldier uniforms in dumpster
Donna began doing research to figure out who the discarded uniforms belonged to. Turns out, there was a family out there that really needed them.
Irene Markianou
11.23.21

Back in 2018, Sgt. Keith McKenzie was home after surviving two deployments in Afghanistan.

But the memories and violent experiences kept haunting him as he suffered from PTSD.

Unsplash - Paul Weaver
Source:
Unsplash - Paul Weaver

Like the majority of veterans- up to 87% are believed to have been exposed to potentially traumatic events- McKenzie must have witnessed and possibly been part of violent incidents during his military career, and this scarred him for the rest of his life.

Sadly, his post-deployment life was too short. The man took his own life in February 2018, when his post-traumatic stress disorder peaked, and amid a failing marriage. He was only 33.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

His car had been repossessed, and the uniforms that were inside ended up in a dumpster.

They would have been lost forever if a woman with a heart of gold hadn’t found them.

“The company I worked for was cleaning out an old storage building to which I found two Military suits. One green and one blue fully decorated,” she wrote on a page dedicated to the sergeant’s memory.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Donna Parker, of Lexington, Kentucky, used to work for the cleaning company. When she found the two uniforms she was initially curious about who they might belong to and why they had been discarded in the first place.

She figured it would be a shame to throw them away, so she set out to find their owners or a family they could be returned to.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

She only had the surname available- and not an uncommon one- so she tried to find it on social media. No luck. Then she even set up tables at festivals around her home in hopes that someone might recognize the name.

Although nobody seemed to know who the owner of the uniforms was, at some point she found out the full name of the soldier. That’s when she returned to her internet research convinced that she would find the answer she had been looking for.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Indeed, the first thing she bumped into was the sergeant’s obituary.

“His obituary was the first thing that came up,” she told CBS. “And it hit me like it would a family member.”

After that, Parker knew she had to return the uniforms. It was clear to her that these pieces of clothing that for somebody may have just been trash, probably meant the world to the deceased veteran’s family.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

So, she went on and wrote a message on that page, letting the family know that she had the uniforms and giving her number so they could arrange a meet-up.

“I [couldn’t] throw these away and been searching for the owner for 1.5 years. I found The owner is SGT Keith McKenzie. Please if someone from the family can contact me I’d love to return these suits,” her message read.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Indeed, the family reached out to her and, soon, the family met up with Parker.

It was an emotional moment when Crystal, Keith’s wife, and her children got reunited with McKenzie’s uniforms.

“She answered a prayer that I didn’t know I was praying for — some faith that there’s people out there that care,” Crystal said.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

This kind woman, who went above and beyond to give a family something to hold on to, is proof that there is still hope out there.

Watch the video below to see this emotional story unfold for yourself!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Irene Markianou
hi@sbly.com
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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