After nearly half a century of many miles and adventures, Sunny Hills resident Tom Reigle is hopeful that someone will return an antique walking stick that’s been his daily companion.
Riegle has been missing his walking stick since he went shopping at Chipley Walmart on Saturday, Feb. 11. It was raining, and Riegel accidentally left the stick in a shopping cart as he left the store. This month marked 48 years ago that Reigle, 80, found the stick in the wilderness of Southwest Ontario while winter camping.
“We just had a foot of snow. I saw it growing out in the wilderness, and it was still attached to the root system but it was dead,” Reigle said.
Reigle recognized the bark on the small twisted branch of wild white dogwood.
“I was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania,” Reigle said. “I have been an outdoorsman since I was old enough to walk.”
Reigle’s father taught him how to survive and subsist in the wilderness from the time he was a young lad, and being an avid outdoorsman became a huge part of who Reigle is today. It felt natural for him to pluck the unique branch from the ground and eventually use it daily to help him get around.
“I consider myself a steward of that old piece of wood,” Reigle said.
The walking stick is of great sentimental value to Reigle. He is offering a monetary reward for the safe return of his stick. Anyone with information is asked to call or text him at 850-533-0058 or email him at [email protected]. Another option is to return the stick to customer service at Chipley Walmart and leave your name and phone number with it.