SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Friends and family of a Springfield man who passed away have found a unique way to both honor him and fulfill his desire to travel the world.

Shawn Reynolds was 44 when he passed away in 2017. A torrent of celebrations of his life from the people who loved him followed shortly thereafter.

From that wealth of remembrances, the Brotherhood of the Traveling Wallet began.

“My brother had a dream to travel all over the world — especially Europe on a motorcycle,” said Nicci Duckworth. “He was never quite able to sprout those wings. So, in order to keep the spirit alive, I came up with the Brotherhood of the Traveling Wallet.”

The idea behind the group is that when friends and family travel, they take Shawn’s wallet with them. By traveling with the wallet and taking pictures and videos with it, Shawn’s community has taken what was once perhaps an everyday, commonplace item and replaced it with a symbol of the man.

A Facebook page dedicated to the group hundreds of people strong is full of photos of the wallet and of the people who travel with it.

“Shawn was very well-known in the Springfield scene for bringing all kinds of people together from different walks of life,” Nicci said. “He was never judgmental about anyone and always had room in his heart for new friends.”

The group’s photos often show the worn and weathered brown leather billfold in the foreground of sweeping panoramas and grand cityscapes.

So far, the wallet has been all around the United States, from the New Orleans French Quarter and the heart of Chicago to the beaches of Hawaii and the Arizona desert. It’s been around the world as well: Belize, England and Italy.

Nicci said that inside the wallet, one can find items such as sand, fish scales, poems, song lyrics and family pictures. People have put so much into the wallet that Nicci has had to move some of it into a separate bag.

“Shawn was that person that lit up the room,” Nicci said. “He made you feel like you were the only one there while he talked to you. He was caring and loving, and protective. He would give you the shirt off his back or his last dollar.”

Shawn’s most recent trip was to the Florida beaches. Next, he will travel to Kansas City for a post-punk concert — his favorite music genre.

At first glance, the Brotherhood of the Traveling Wallet seems to simply be a group dedicated to a symbol of a man people miss. But those who look closer may see that while the Facebook group breathes meaning into an otherwise ordinary wallet to make it extraordinary, the Brotherhood has itself become something extraordinary: a spiritual scrapbook and memory box created by Shawn Reynolds that unites those who add to it.