Wrangell students shine in act of kindness
It’s an ethical dilemma as old as the hills. You find a
wallet stuffed with money lying unattended on the ground. What do you do?
Members of the Wolves
varsity basketball team and the pep band found themselves in just such a situation during the Region V basketball tournament, March 5. Some members of each student group were at a Fred Meyer’s store during the tournament loading into a van to return to Juneau Douglas High School, when freshman Sig Decker noticed something lying in a snow bank.
“I almost let it go because we were all piling up,” he said.
Instead, what Decker found was the wallet. He briefly
considered taking the wallet – which, in an Alaskan twist on the classic moral fable, was still partially frozen into the snow — but reconsidered after
opening it and finding credit cards inside.
“I thought about it a little bit,” he said. “It’s a weird thought to say. If it was just no name and cash, maybe the only thing you can do is call the cops.”
Then his friend Trent Stokes opened the billfold, and started counting.
“He starts counting off
hundreds,” Decker said. “We found this wallet had 820 bucks in it.”
The wallet had been missing since about Dec. 27, and the money inside had been part of local bartender’s Dawn Dulebohn critical holiday-period tips. The wallet also
included her photo identification and credit cards, school officials said.
So Decker, who’s in the pep band, and Stokes, a Wolves’ basketball player, took the
wallet to their principal. Eventually, they discovered Dulebohn’s identification and, using their smartphones, Googled her.
“We drove over there, gave ‘em her wallet,” Decker said. “She offered to give us $100. We were just like ‘no thanks.’”
Dulebohn was extremely grateful.
“Not only did they find it and call me and tell me they had it, but they delivered it to me at work,” she said.
So, instead of allowing the good deed to go unrewarded, she contacted principal Monty Buness, and (after much effort) persuaded him to allow her to buy pizza for the team as a thank you.
Decker says it was Wrangell’s reputation that swayed them to do the right thing in the end.
“There was a sure way to get it back to her, so we did it,” he said.
Wrangell teams try to leave a good impression wherever they go, Decker added.
“We’re known to clean up our spaces when we’re done,” he said. “There’s a certain higher aspect that we uphold for ourselves.”
When the team identified the wallet’s owner, the course of action was clear, Decker said.
“It didn’t even cross my mind after that point,” he said.