Diploma found miles away after Lamar Co. tornado

Diploma found miles away after Lamar Co. tornado

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Michael Garvey was picking up trash that was thrown out of a car window near his Hattiesburg home when he saw a mysterious looking piece of paper.

"I was picking it up and when I looked 10 feet down from where was I saw the diploma and I said well this couldn't have been thrown out of the car window with the trash," Garvey said.

Soon after, Garvey emailed WDAM saying that he found a 1969 Purvis High School Diploma with the name Mary Nell Miller. After posting his message on Facebook, WDAM received an email from Caleb Matheny.

"I had a friend of mine that tagged me on Facebook and said, was this your uncle's wife that had just been killed in the storm," Matheny said.

It turns out the diploma belonged to the late wife of Harris Dale Purvis. Purvis is the man who died after Tuesday's EF2 tornado ripped through his mobile home in Baxterville.

"With the tornado coming through I guess it could have ended (up) anywhere," Matheny said.

The diploma traveled more than 20 miles from Baxterville to Hattiesburg undamaged. Miller's younger sister, Joy, said she is thankful to find anything after the devastating tornado.

"It was very heart breaking, so any little memento that we could get back of the two of them was a nice thing," she said.

Garvey said he is glad he could return the diploma because it is a memory the family can cherish forever.