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Boy's donated jersey creates connections across the globe

By Nkoyo Iyamba | Posted - Mar 21st, 2014 @ 9:42pm


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SALT LAKE CITY &#8212 When you donate some of your used stuff to places like Deseret Industries, it’s usually out of sight out of mind. But not for one Utah boy.

Ben Ostler’s football jersey made it all the way to West Africa, and a photo of its new owner came back to him.

“I wore that and so did he,” Ben said. “That’s crazy. I didn’t really believe it at first, but then I realized that it really was my jersey.”

A little over two years ago, Ben played football for the Cottonwood High School Colts Little League team. After eight games, he outgrew football, and the jersey. So he tossed the jersey in the family's pile to give to Deseret Industries.

This week, Ostler's uncle, who is serving as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sierra Leone, and his wife saw a young man walking along the road in the capital city Freetown.

“And he (the uncle) saw him with a jersey that had his same last name, ‘Ostler,’” said Rich Ostler, Ben’s father. “He stopped and he asked the young man where he got the shirt, and they looked at his name tag and they realized that they got the same name.”

The boy received the jersey from a charity in Sierra Leone, shipped by Deseret Industries. This experience has turned into a fun lesson on charity for the Ostler family.

“If you donate stuff, it really gets used,” Ben said.

His aunt and uncle in Sierra Leone were able to connect with the boy wearing the jersey, and share its history, Rich said.

“I think it takes discipline to go through sometimes and send things off to the DI or other wonderful services that can get those to the hands of people who really need them,” Rich said.

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