MISSOULA – A veteran and his missing trailer have been reunited in Missoula.
Missoula County Sheriff’s Office deputies found former Lieutenant Colonel Tim Gardipee’s trailer, that has been missing since Thursday, on Sunday morning.
Sheriff’s Deputy Gordon Shmill told MTN that they received a tip about a suspicious trailer that matched the description of the one missing, and deputies responded to the scene.
The contents of the trailer — including a custom treaded wheelchair — that was taken from Gardipee was confirmed and later released to him.
Gardipee relies heavily on this gear to live independently and also just pass his time in peace at his home in Missoula. For Gardipee, this loss was devastating, limiting his mobility.
He, along with a representative from Wounded Warriors reached out to the community to help find his belongings. So when he received a call from the Sheriff’s Office, he was skeptical.
“I was excited to of course I was a little bit cautious,” said Gardipee, “Blocked down, there is no damage. Most of the items that are critical to me are still there and in mint condition. I was quite happy with that.”
Sheriff’s deputies found the trailer abandoned in the Evaro Hill area according to Gardipee and returned it to him as quickly as they could.
“There was a quite a bit of effort,” Gardipee said. “Quite a bit of sharing; a lot of people had their eyes out all over the state and all over the nation. A lot of them are ready for a good old fashion Montana horsewhipping for this guy. Because they did not like what they did to a Montana wounded warrior.”
Aside from having to replace the lock and hitch, all of Gardipee’s gear was untouched. He stressed the importance of locking up your important things, and to be a good neighbor.
MTN’s Donal Lakatua