Unintended donation: Goodwill worker returns family scrapbook

2011-12-27T21:00:00Z 2011-12-27T23:50:17Z Unintended donation: Goodwill worker returns family scrapbookBy JOHN GRANT EMEIGH Montana Standard The Billings Gazette
December 27, 2011 9:00 pm  • 

A little good luck and a lot of goodwill prevented a Fairmont family from losing a big part of its history.

Sharon Haffey is grateful to a staff worker at the Goodwill Store in Butte for discovering a plain, blue binder that Haffey inadvertently gave away. It contained her family tree and old photographs of her relatives.

“This is very important to the family,” Haffey said, looking through the family history on her mother’s side and some 100-year-old photographs. This piece of family history was almost lost forever.

Haffey’s mother, Rita Kramarich, died Nov. 4, and the binder with her family’s history was one of her valued possessions. A couple of weeks after her death, Haffey collected some items that were stored at her daughter’s house in Butte and donated them to Goodwill. She had no idea the binder was in one of the boxes.

It was a gut feeling from Goodwill worker Carrie Coulter that saved the binder from being lost.

“I just got a feeling that it wasn’t supposed to be there,” Coulter said. So she did a little investigating.

With the help of Cheryl Yount from the Easter Seals-Goodwill Highlands Hospice, Coulter was able to determine the items belonged to Kramarich, who was a resident at hospice before her death. The hospice staff was able to get Coulter in touch with Haffey.

“She came right over that day and picked it up,” Coulter said.

Though she had never met Haffey, Coulter said Haffey was very friendly and extremely appreciative about recovering the scrapbook. Coulter said it was an emotional moment for both of them.

“I never saw so many tears flow between two strangers,” Coulter said.

Recovering the scrapbook was a ray of hope during a dark time for Haffey.

The loss of her mother was painful, and she is glad to have a record of her mother’s genealogy and the old family photos.

“It’s been a tough year,” she said.

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