Woman hoping to return ‘mystery box’ found with man’s old photos, war patches

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Elissa Marble said she found the box of old photos and mementos in her basement. She's unsure how long it was down there.

Elissa Marble said she found the box of old photos and mementos in her basement. She's unsure how long it was down there.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It's a find Elissa Marble never expected to come across, especially in her own basement. She was cleaning out old items in her home for a yard sale this past weekend when she found a cardboard box filled with a lifetime's worth of old photos and mementos belonging to someone else.

Marble said her family has only lived in the home on Grand Rapids' southeast side for a few months and has no idea how the box wound up in the basement.

Marble contacted FOX 17 in hopes of finding help to get the box back to its owner. “There was just so much stuff, things long before my lifetime and long before I was ever even thought of."

"It's just amazing the things you can see, it's someone’s history, and I realized somebody is missing a lifetime of memories."

Inside the box, Marble found photos dating back as long ago as 1906. Among the items are old family photos, pictures of a U.S. soldier, and several military patches for the "Third Aviation Company, Attack Helicopter."

Several of the photos, many showing military helicopters, and a U.S. Army ID card seem to indicate the man's name is Roy Edward Anderson, who apparently served in the armed forces as a sergeant during the 1950s and 1960s.

One photo from March 1961 reads, "Roy E. Anderson, Private First Class, South Dakota National Guard."

A good number of the photos have locations written on them referring to either Minnesota or Sioux Falls, South Dakota, making unclear any possible connection to West Michigan and Marble's basement.

“It’s like a treasure trove of just picture after picture," Marble said. “It really makes me wonder, maybe they forgot it or maybe they sold the house and it got left behind. Maybe it got lost in the shuffle.”

An obituary, also found in the box, appears to be Anderson's. Marble said she's hopeful the man's family is out there somewhere, and she'll be able to return the belongings of the box.

"I want the family to have their memories, because these are irreplaceable memories. I’m sure a lot of these photos you’d never be able to replace.”

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