Three City of Bartlesville sanitation employees are being credited for what some are calling a Christmas miracle.
The workers, supervisor Craig Gordineer and sanitation collectors Nathan Williams and Brandon Lopez, returned a man's remains to his family just in time for the holiday.
In a news release, the city says Williams and Lopez noticed a wooden box in the trash, which contained the urn and remains of a Bartlesville man.
Recognizing the significance of the item and assuming it had been discarded by accident, the two retrieved the box from the trash in hopes of returning it to the appropriate person.
After a search turned up no willing recipients, Williams contacted their supervisor for help.
With a little help from social media, Craig Gordineer located and contacted the man's daughter, who lives out of state.
In a letter to City of Bartlesville, the daughter said she cried upon hearing the news that her father's ashes had been found.
"For such an unappreciated job, the fact that Nathan Williams and Brandon Lopez noticed a container and retrieved it to take to their boss, Mr. Craig Gordineer, is truly a miracle in itself," she wrote. "Then, for (Gordineer) to go to the lengths to try and locate the next of kin — well, it goes beyond his job description.
"His remains are with his family that love him, and we owe it all to your staff. You truly have witnessed a Christmas miracle, as well as our whole family. I consider it was God working through your wonderful staff to return him to his family. God bless all of you from the bottom of my heart. You have already given me the greatest gift of all."
The man's remains were turned over to another family member earlier this month.