Finding a box of good fortune
Krista Norris, Stephanie Romero, Tyler Cribbs, Aleksey Cribbs and Nikki Cribbs were just about to knock off for the day, having hauled out a plethora of lesser treasures, and felt pretty good about a job well done.
At 3:40 p.m. Sunday, they looked up the bank of the Eagle River about 10 feet above the water’s edge near the Eagle-Bend Apartments in Eagle-Vail, and there it was.
The dark green lockbox, reported stolen from Jim Kuhn about three weeks ago, was lying on the river bank. Almost everything it had contained when it was stolen was still inside.
“When we found it, it didn’t look like much of it had been rifled through,” said Nikki Cribbs, the chaperone for the four youngsters on the cleanup team.
The lockbox contained personal treasures such as coin collections, marriage certificates and birth certificates, as well as a Social Security card and a couple of mint condition trading cards featuring football stars Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers and Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears.
Kuhn, who had reported to the Vail police that the box had been stolen, said it sounded like the only thing missing was one of his children’s Social Security cards.
Cribbs’ crew was working for Meadow Mountain Elementary School, which works out well because most them either had gone to school there or are there now.
On Monday morning Cribbs handed the box over to Meadow Mountain teacher Barbara Houck, whose name was on several documents inside.
“It was quite a coincidence that the kids knew the teacher,” said Cribbs. “Everything is back where it’s supposed to be.”
This year’s Eagle River Cleanup boasted almost 300 volunteers, split into 27 teams of about 10 people each. The Snowboard Outreach Society rallied 75 people to their team.
The annual event is sponsored by the Eagle River Watershed Council.
“We saw a changing of the guard this year,” said the Eagle River Watershed Council’s Caroline Bradford. “We had some team leaders drop off who’ve been with us for seven or eight years. New people rose to the surface this year.”
They even had a bunch of new sponsors, which Bradford said was thanks largely to Erica Yostomito, who volunteered this year to put together sponsors.
“She went through all the businesses in the phone book that have “Eagle River’ in their names,” said Bradford. “If they had that, they were contacted. Even if they didn’t have that in their names, most of the time they were contacted anyway.”