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Man's brother finds long lost letterman jacket at Arizona thrift store

Posted at 1:41 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 15:48:08-05

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — “There are memories I’ll never forget, and they’re all flooding back to me right now,” said Jed Mottley, standing in the middle of the Chaparral High School football field Tuesday.

Jed’s emotions were free-flowing for a good reason following a serendipitous discovery by his brother Josh two weeks ago at a Pinetop thrift store.

“When he sent me the picture of it, I knew it was mine instantly,” said Jed.

Jed was a varsity football player at Chaparral HS in Scottsdale 28 years ago.

An accomplishment that could only be represented in one way as a teen in the 1990s, with the sporting of a letterman jacket.

“I went to a store right down the street here, and we picked everything out. We might have even put a deposit down,” said Jed.

But when it came time to pick it up, Jed’s mom Gerry broke the bad news. They didn’t have the money to purchase it.

“She always wanted us to have everything, but we just couldn’t get it with everything we were going through at the time,” said Jed.

“I thought about the jacket over the years, though, and it bummed me out when I couldn’t get it because everyone else on the team had one, and I felt like the only one that didn’t.”

It was a difficult call to make for Jed’s mom but one he understood. Close throughout Jed and his brother Josh’s lives, Gerry passed away in 2012 at age 65.

“My mom was very religious and would say to us all the time when I die, I’m gonna come back and give you signs and stuff and that never really happened,” said Josh Mottley.

That is until Josh walked into Veterans Village, a Pinetop thrift store near his home, on Nov. 4.

It was his last stop of the day, and he said he had a funny feeling telling him he’d find something extraordinary inside.

“So I get into this store, and I’m literally walking around, and the first thing I see is this bright red jacket hanging,” said Josh, who moved to Pinetop several years ago after touring the country as a musician.

“[Josh] goes, 'Dude, let me just send you a picture of this real quick.' I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. I’m like, dude, that’s my jacket,” said Jed, also a professional musician in Los Angeles.

The jacket had the name "Jed" stitched on it, "Class of '94" near the pocket, and the patches he’d picked out on the sleeves.

“I remember designing it, but I never saw the final product, so when I saw it, it was mind-blowing,” said Jed.

“That things been sitting somewhere in perfect condition for 28 years,” said Josh. “I just kept looking at it, saying this can’t be real. I can tell you I felt my mom's presence with us when I met up with him to give it to him.”

Jed flew in from LA, where his brother delivered the jacket at long last, and it also marked the first time the two brothers had seen each other in person in years.

A mother’s message to her son was finally received by the fateful discovery of a jacket that shouldn’t even exist.

“It’s one of those things that something so painful can turn out so beautiful years later, and you got just to ride it out. You never know what’s around the corner. Life’s a trip,” said Jed.

Cameron Polom at KNXV first reported this story.