MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Derrick Steward said it wasn't until he got a "bazillion" Facebook messages from friends who saw WSFA 12 News' story about his missing boxes that he even realized they were gone!
Bob and Lisa DuBose reached out to WSFA after finding the boxes in Prattville. The couple opened the boxes to find home items and family photos. Mrs. DuBose said she especially wanted to get the pictures back to their rightful owners because they capture memories that can't be replaced.
After the story aired, Steward said a friend of his from the Maxwell Air Force Base, where he used to work, called him to tell him his family photos had aired in a story. He connected with the DuBoses and his boxes.
"This is just such a cool story," Steward explained. "I was happy to get my stuff back, but the best part was getting to spend some time with them [the DuBoses'] and just knowing that there are different ways this could have gone."
When Mrs. DuBose originally went through the boxes, she found photos of Steward's wedding and baby boy. Steward said his wife passed away 15 months ago from a chronic illness. Shortly after, he medically retired from the Air Force.
"2015 was not a kind year to us," Steward admitted, "but that's life."
Steward said that situations like his interaction with the DuBose family remind him that there is light everywhere. Since the passing of his wife, Steward has been able to find love again and focus on raising his son, Collin, who will turn five at the end of August.
(A framed photo of Collin as a baby was among the items Mrs. DuBose found in the box.)
(Also among the items in the lost box was this wedding photo from Derrick's wedding. His wife died 15 months ago.)
(Derrick and his not so tiny baby boy, Collin, who is almost five now.)