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Colorado vet's ashes find way home, thanks to kindness of stranger

Posted at 6:09 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 20:09:26-04

LONGMONT, Colo. -- Ryan Newcomb had a smile that always seemed to be there and his family was so important to him.

“Just very and happy and fortunate to have known him as my brother,” Chris Newcomb said.

Ryan joined the Navy when he was young, but was honorably discharged after suffering a brain injury.

“Changed his life, but tried to find joy everyday. He was the best person he could be,” Chris added.

In December of 2017, Ryan passed away at the age of 42. Chris thought Ryan's remains were with his widow.

“Luckily, Shawn from S&J found us,” Chris said.

“I bought a storage unit and they were in the storage unit,” S&J Variety owner Shawn Pullen said.

For three months, Pullen had Ryan's remains and military flag in his pawn shop near Nashville, Tenn.

“I took and put a table up in the front of my store and made a memorial. I had his military flag and had his ashes sitting on a table so when you walked in my store that was the first thing you saw,” Pullen said.

Until the right customer knew the right people.

“They located the funeral home in Metairie (Louisiana) I had went thru. The funeral home contacted me,” Chris said. “Thank goodness a man like Shawn found these,” Chris added.

On Monday, Ryan came home, as did his military flag.

“Pretty cool for it to all happen for the way it did,” Pullen said.

“I’m so grateful. Grateful beyond words. Words don’t suffice,” Chris said.

Chris plans to take his brother on one last trip, spreading his ashes at the places they loved together.

“We’ll continue to go there as a family, know we’ll know he’s there as well and that he’s finally able to rest,” Chris said.

Thanks to the kindness of a stranger a time zone away, the guy who loved his family will always be with them.

“Now he surrounds us with love,” Chris said.