A Comox Valley woman is celebrating after thrift shoppers from a TV show found her late father’s belongings inside an abandoned storage bin in Vancouver.
Skeena Reece was invited to Richmond to pick up a collection of her father’s artwork and memorabilia. Thrifters from the Animal Planet series Pets and Pickers said they had wood masks, family photographs, and a gift she painted 36 years ago.
Skeena travelled to a thrift shop on the Lower Mainland and was greeted by a table adorned with the possessions. One item in particular caught her attention: a Father’s Day gift.
“Happy fathers day DAD! I love you!” read her pre-teenage brush strokes on a cutting-board-sized wood canvas. “June 16, 1987. Age. 12. Grade. 7.”
Thrift store manager Karen Kamachi told Skeena the Father’s Day present was key to finding the family. That’s because Skeena painted her father’s name, “Victor Reece,” in giant, curly font, and signed her name on the back.
“He kept it,” Kamachi said softly. “That’s how we found you.”
Skeena told the Record her favourite item was her father’s baseball cap, which still smells of the late artist’s woodcarving studio. She said she tucked it into one of the many “care packages” that she gave to family members, who each received something to remember Victor by.
“We are so blessed,” she said. “Thank you to all of the people who worked on this recovery.”
TV-show Pets and Pickers found Victor’s locker last year. The episode was filmed in December 2022. Skeena’s story aired on TV on May 13, 2023.
Pets and Pickers follows a veterinary hospital that is supported by “pickers,” who search through abandoned, donated storage lockers in Vancouver. Pickers find items to sell, and proceeds help pay for veterinary medical care at the RAPS Animal Hospital.