A homeless U.S. Army veteran recently received saving bonds that he’d given away at a pawn shop years ago — just when he needed them the most.
Chris Mathis, the owner of a pawn shop in Junction City, Kan., was going through his grandfather’s desk drawer years ago when he recovered a large envelope full of old U.S. saving bonds. From there, he made it a mission 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 told InsideEdition.com “Some were as easy as typing a name into an internet telephone directory and making a phone call, others were much tougher.”
Mathis said a man by the name of Woodrow, whose last name InsideEdition.com has chosen not to include, proved hard to find. Mathis hired a private investigator to locate Woodrow so he could give him the bonds, which are now worth more than $3,000.
Woodrow had reportedly pawned the bonds for some quick cash in 1981 when he was 21 and stationed at Fort Riley.
Mathis said the investigator discovered Woodrow was homeless and living in Chicago, but couldn’t give any further information. Mathis called every shelter in the area with no luck. Mathis said he couldn’t stop thinking about Woodrow over the holidays.
That was until the Chicago Sun-Times posted an article about the search for Woodrow and readers began saying they recognized him.
A reporter with the paper finally tracked him down and was able to give him his savings bonds, according to reports.
“I thought this was some kind of scam,” Woodrow told the paper. “Why would this guy want to help me? 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."