SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Connecting lost family memorabilia to their family members is the goal of one man here in the Ozarks.
Ryan LaBee, is a man who finds lost family memorabilia and returns them to their next of kin.
“You’re like the third family member of something like this that I’ve been able to locate and return some stuff too,” Ryan said on the phone.
“That’s remarkable. That’s remarkable,” said a man who LaBee found lost memorabilia for.
Rescuing memories of the Ozarks and returning them to family members has been a passion for LaBee since August 2020.
“The fact that he is just someone who took the time to even search someone out, it has great great meaning for me that he found those,” said Julie Frost, a woman who received lost family memorabilia from LaBee.
Frost’s mom passed away in 2009.
But after LaBee contacted her, she got an unexpected, surprising memory of mom she never knew existed.
“It just shows some of the different family members, right here at the bottom is my mom and my grandma’s holding her, it has closer, extended family, her grandmas, aunts, and uncles,” said Frost.
“She didn’t even know those items existed. She had no idea. That baby book was a thing,” LaBee said.
LaBee returned these items to Frost, who lives in Oregon now.
“So be able to give her something that she didn’t even know existed is pretty cool,” LaBee said.
“It was really powerful to see photos of my grandma, my great aunt, my great-great-grandma, great-great-grandpa, people I haven’t seen since I was almost too young to remember them,” said Frost.
“My family and I like to go out antiquing and stuff like that and go to thrift stores,” LaBee said.
When LaBee finds family memorabilia, it’s fascinating at first, “then I started to be kind of sad, like I was like, why would this have found its way into an antique store? There’s gotta be a story here,” said LaBee.
He has returned four or five items so far.
“I legitimately feel like these items will matter to someone,” LaBee said, “I’ve never returned one of these items and someone was like, I don’t want them. They always want them, you know.”
Ryan has an Instagram page “once_lived_here” where he posts lost memories he finds with the limited information he has.