BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Outside the City Towing impound lot in Boynton Beach, George Whidden Jr. sees a grave marker that has his father's name.
"Well, it's unbelievable," Whidden said to Brandi Cook, the owner of City Towing.
"There it is," Cook said as she gave the marker to Whidden.
The marker notes that George Grant Whidden Sr. was born in 1923, died in 1978 and served in the Navy during World War II.
The marker sat in City Towing's lot for the past eight years, and Cook told George Whidden Jr. why she saved it.
"Somebody's going to be looking for it," Cook said. "It came from somewhere."
Cook also owns rental properties including a house in Lantana.
When tenants left in 2014 they didn't leave a forwarding address. They also left the grave marker in the backyard.
Cook never thought of throwing it away.
"If this was one of my family members, I would definitely want to have this back in my family with the rightful owners or owner," Cook said.
When Contact 5 was covering a story of how Cook helped arrest a man for allegedly having a thumb drive in an impounded car, her husband showed us Whidden's grave marker and asked if we might be able to find the veteran's relatives.
Contact 5 Investigator Dave Bohman and assignment desk manager Joey Schatt spent much of a day online using data tools to track down Whidden's family.
Our search led to one of George Whidden Sr.'s relatives, who then had Ron Whidden, the late veteran's grandson, call Contact 5. He then brought his brother Grant, and his father, George Whidden Jr. down from the Orlando area to pick up the marker.
"It means the world," George Whidden Jr. said.
He said his father would appreciate the marker being back in the family's possession as it notes that he was a World War II veteran.
"He was always so proud of that fact, especially with him being in the Navy," George Whidden Jr. said. "He was your typical World War II guy, very tough, very driven about everything he did."
So, who had the grave marker?
After George Whidden Jr. and Cook briefly brainstormed, they determined it was George Whidden Sr.'s stepdaughter who lived briefly in the area.
"Thank you so much," George Whidden Jr. said as he and his sons left with the marker.
"[I'm] glad it got returned to someone," Cook said, happy that the impound lot no longer has the grave marker. "It needs to be where it should be and now it is, and now he can put it in its rightful place."
The family keepsake won't serve as a grave marker since George Whidden Sr.'s ashes were spread over the Everglades 44 years ago.
Instead, George Whidden Jr. plans to frame it and display it prominently at his home.