Military News

This WWII treasure was found in a Goodwill

After an old tin box was dropped off as a donation, workers found more than just rust inside: WWII treasure.
wwii treasure
This tin lock box was filled with WWII treasure.

They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and at one Goodwill in Oklahoma City, that old mantra turned out to be true. After an old tin box was dropped off as a donation, workers found more than just rust inside. 

A clever employee, who evaluated the new item, found a secret compartment inside the box. The antique style of box consists of a hollow lid that’s closed over the top of it. For anyone who isn’t looking, it simply seems like a thick lid. But for the trained eye, they know just where to look. 

In this particular box, the hidden section held more than a few items of value. Enclosed was an envelope dated 1947, papers, a leather-bound book and several medals. There were also honorable discharge papers, stating that the soldier had served in the Navy and had fought in World War II.

That was enough information to send the Goodwill employees to work, they said in an interview with local news. They began researching the sailor, finding out about his past work as a carpenter and other background information. 

“It was really a time warp. I mean, we laid it all out,” a Goodwill employee said in an interview with local news. 

“He went into the military right out of high school,” they said. An obituary was found, listing the man’s death in 2017. From there, however, they were able to locate the sailor’s daughter, in nearby Edmond, OK, and return the items to her. 

wwii treasure contents
Navy discharge papers and other items from 1947.

One final treasure

Perhaps most impressively, inside the hidden compartment was a letter hand-signed by Harry S. Truman, the president at the time of the sailor’s discharge. Though dated, the items were in pristine condition, as if they’d been locked up safely in the tin box for decades – so safely that its donor didn’t even realize they existed. 

Thankfully, the regional Goodwill chapter was able to get involved and return said item to the sailor’s descendants. 

“Based on the condition of the lockbox and the papers, we were confident the person who donated these items likely did not know about the existence of the compartment or the documents,” said Assistant Store Manager Katie Duer, in a press release by Goodwill. 

The store showed items to local news sources, but ensured they were protected before reuniting with its rightful owner(s).

“She seemed really pleased to get it back.”