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Woman and man wearing formal clothes, man standing with three women and pile of letters (inset)

USPS Worker Hand Delivers Lost World War 2 Letters to Woman

Lamb Family and Alvin Gauthier (via All Thats Interesting)
Uplifting News

USPS Worker Goes 400 Extra Miles To Make a Special Delivery - 8 Decades in the Making

U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Alvin Gauthier, drove out of his way to reunite a woman with long-lost letters written by her brother over 80 years ago during WWII.

There's something special about a letter; just ask Alvin Gauthier. As a U.S. postal worker for the past 20 years, he's seen his fair share.

So when he stumbled across some long-lost letters postmarked 1942, Gauthier delivered. Literally.

He hopped in his car and drove TEN HOURS round-trip — on his day off and at his own expense — to ensure they finally reached their destination...82 years later.

Better Late Than Never

Letters spread out.

Alvin Gauthier, a USPS carrier from Grande Prairie, Texas, hand-delivered WW-II era long lost letters to soldier's family.

NBC 5 News

Gauthier, a mail carrier in Grande Prairie, Texas, discovered the cache of WWII-era letters when they inexplicably landed in his mailbag one day.

"I was getting ready for my route and found some letters that were dated back to 1942, so World War II," Gauthier told NBC affiliate KXAS-TV.

"My main thought was I have to find this family."

Alvin Gauthier via KXAS-TV

The letters, some typed and some hand-written, were obviously from a soldier to his parents, "Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lamb."

As a military veteran himself, Gauthier recognized the historical value and sentimental importance of his find. He understands the impact letters have on boosting a soldier's morale, having written and received letters from his own parents during his tour in Iraq.

He made it his mission to get the letters home.

Simply addressed to Jacksonville, Alabama and without a physical address, he didn't have much to go by. But this was one mystery he was determined to solve.

Using the clues he did have, a military return address and the recipients' names, Gauthier enlisted the help of local media in Little Rock, Arkansas.

They delivered. After running the story, Gauthier received several emails and phone calls from people from all over. He was able to track down JoAnn Smith, the soldier's sister.

USPS Worker Hand-Delivers WWII Soldier's Long Lost Letters

Person holding a picture of WWII soldier Marion W. Lamb

WWII soldier Marion W. Lamb

NBC 5 News

Rather than putting the letters back in the mail, Gauthier decided to hand-deliver the precious correspondence. On his first day off, he hopped in the car and drove 5 hours across state lines to reunite JoAnn with her brother's legacy.

"I could have stuck them in the mail, but it's kinda like sometimes you have to go above and beyond," he said.

"Just go the extra mile … or 379 miles.”

When the veteran arrived at Smith's door with the letters, she was shocked...and thrilled.

“I’m very excited and very tearful,” a crying Smith told Fox affiliate KLRT-TV about the moment. “For me, it’s a connection to my family.”

Smith was only two years old when her older brother, Marion Lamb, went off to fight in WWII.He served in the South Pacific with the 96th Infantry Division, his unit earning the Philippine Republic Presidential Citation Badge for their bravery. He passed away in 2010, at the age of 89.

Smith is the last remaining sibling out of six kids. The letters mean the world to her.

The Importance of Connection

Elderly woman looking at framed pictures on the wall.

JoAnn Smith is reunited with letters written by her older brother, Marion, during WWII

NBC 5 News

After more than eight decades, these long-lost letters finally came home.

Gauthier didn't just deliver letters, he delivered priceless memories. For Smith, they are so much more than mere words on the page, they are a tangible link to her brother and the past. It's a gift she'll never forget.

“I just appreciate Alvin,” Smith told KLRT-TV. “He has really gone out of his way and people connect on different levels and I feel as connected to Alvin as I do my family.”

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