By Bill Murray | April 29, 2021 at 2:59 PM EDT – Updated May 1 at 9:34 AM
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – “To God be the Glory and thank you New Hanover County landfill workers.”
That’s not a sentence or a sentiment you hear every day, but this is a story you only hear, maybe once, in a lifetime.
Chuck and Pam Smith are western North Carolina transplants. They’re now residents of New Hanover County. Recently, Pam was cleaning the house, when she realized several of her rings were missing.
“I just was frantic that I couldn’t find my rings,” Pam recalled. “But, I knew in my heart I had thrown them, accidentally in the trash.”
Fast forward a few minutes and Pam’s husband, Chuck, was running down the neighborhood trying to flag down their local sanitation workers who had picked up their garbage earlier that morning.
“By that time, they had done at least 25 more houses,” Chuck said. “I was kind of panicked because that’s a lot of money.”
Chuck flagged down the crew with SRWS (Select Recycling Waste Services). Elliott Holliday was behind the wheel of the big rig and caught Chuck in the rear view mirror.
“When they flagged me down, I didn’t know what was going on,” Holliday said. “I just knew I saw a couple in distress.”
Elliott and his partner for the day, Kendrick Grady, knew they couldn’t dump their load of trash in the streets of the neighborhood, so they called ahead to the New Hanover County landfill and told them they had an emergency.
“We called and told them the problem,” said Grady. “We just needed a flat piece of land to be able to unload the truck.”
What they needed was more than that. They needed a little luck, some patience, and divine intervention. All three pulled through.
“Management wasn’t here, it was my call and about two seconds later, I told her to sit tight,” said Kedar Brunson, who’s a landfill specialist. “I noticed this lady standing in front of my bulldozer praying, so I called my wife and we were praying with her saying ‘Lord, show this woman a favor.’”
A work team of more than half a dozen men dug through layer and layer for hours, until about five minutes before closing.
“It’s like we went through every bag. We went through, literally, the last bag before we found it,” said Grady. “It was truly a miracle.”
It’s not often your local garbage collector gets a thank you letter.
Here’s just a little bit of what was penned by the Smiths:
“The events of that day made for an eventful time in our lives and we will forever remember the compassionate and understanding way we were treated. You have very professional staff and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
A half dozen men, in blazing, lime green safety vests became “unsung heroes” on that day.
“I just want people to remember there are a lot of good people on this Earth who are willing to help,” said Pam Smith. “And God is good.”
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