Found shovel leads to $60 check

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jim Stark of Coulterville, Ill., was leading a revitalization ministry at a small church in the corn country of Southern Illinois.

He was reading and studying the second chapter of the Book of Revelation in the Bible, which advises remembering and returning to the things you did first.

“I got to remembering and thought of something that I had intended to do but never did,” Stark said. “And, I knew it was something I needed to do – must do.”

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Stark’s memory took him back to 2003 when he, his wife and sons lived in Troy for a while.

“We had been missionaries to the West Indies and were home waiting for a ministry assignment,” Stark said, by telephone from his home in Coulterville. “We attended the Presbyterian church in Troy and the boys were in school there.”

One day, Stark was on the way to pick the boys up from school and he noticed a shovel on the side of the road. It looked like the kind that is used on a leaf truck. Evidently, the shovel had fallen off so Stark stopped, picked it up and put it in the trunk of his car with every intention of taking it back.

“I planned to take it to Troy City Hall but, at the time, we were raising support to go back overseas but the money wasn’t coming in,” Stark said. “During this time of transition, I was in contact with a church in Southern Illinois. We visited there and the next thing, we were moving.”

In the haste of moving, the shovel was packed with the family’s other belongings and, therefore, also relocated to Illinois.

“Being busy with relocating, I put the shovel in the garage and forgot about it – until it snowed every year,” Stark said, laughing. “I used it to shovel snow and, every time I did, I thought, ‘Oh, I need to get this back to Troy,’ but time passed and passed. I meant to get the shovel back but just never did.”

Not until the church revitalization program.

Stark said that scripture was a reminder that he needed to ‘return to things’ and return things.

So, he got out the old, trusty shovel with every intention of returning it to the City of Troy.

“But, I’d shoved ice and snow with it for so long that it was damaged,” Stark said. “I couldn’t send back a damaged shovel. So, I called Lowe’s in Troy to find out what a shovel like that would cost. I was told it would be around $60. So, I sent a check for $60 to the City of Troy. I’d long been filled with good intentions. It was just the timing of it. But it took our revitalization program to get me to take care of it.”

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said, as far back as he can remember, this was the first time anything I this has happened.

“When I got the letter and the check, I thought this is the kind of story that needs to be told,” Lunsford said. “If everybody had Jim Stark’s attitude and commitment to do the right thing, this world would be a better place.

“We thank him for the check and he can keep the city’s shovel with our blessing.”