Community reunites Vernon 5-year-old with missing rocket

Two weeks after a rocket launch went sideways, Henry got his Christmas present back

Harold and Conrad, brothers and owners of Roko Service Ltd., pose with 5-year-old Henry after giving him back his lost rocket. (Tamra Kruize)

A young Vernon boy has been reunited with his toy after a two-week long mission that would have been impossible without the help and co-operation of the community.

“I honestly didn’t think we were going to see it again,” Vernon resident Tamra Kruize said about her five-year-old son’s toy rocket.

The family decided to launch Henry’s Christmas present on the evening of Aug. 1. Kruize said the conditions were optimal, as there was little to no wind—or so it seemed.

But after takeoff, the family wasn’t able to see where it landed.

“We waited so long to build it and shoot it off,” Kruize said. “I had to try to get it back.”

She and Henry spent the next few days knocking on doors and asking neighbours if they have seen the missing rocket.

“Everyone was really gracious, so many people were coming out to look in their yards and trees,” she said, but to no avail.

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The family decided to hunt down the lost rocket the old fashioned way. They made a poster.

“Someone had taken a picture of it and posted it on the Rant and Rave Facebook page,” Kruize said. “It was shared 23 times!”

Suddenly, Kruize received a text message from an unknown number. She had a lead.

Henry loved this. He loves to play detectives and spies, his mother said. To be able to put those skills to use in the real world was thrilling for the five year old. He was following the clues and chasing leads to find his not-so-inexpensive toy rocket.

While door-knocking, Kruize said they met a “lovely elderly lady.”

“She was like, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’”

But the woman’s neighbour knew exactly what they were talking about.

“I saw it,” a man told Kruize, noting it landed on the elderly woman’s roof. “I took a picture.”

Kruize and Henry returned to the home in question with the photograph in hand, but the woman was still puzzled by the mystery of the lost rocket.

They exchanged information anyway, just in case the rocket was found on the woman’s property.

And on Thursday, exactly two weeks later, Kruize got a call saying it had been found.

The call came from the elderly woman’s son. He had found the rocket in the backyard and brought it to his place of work at Roko Service Ltd.

“Two weeks later, we have it,” Kruize said, sounding surprised. “I honestly didn’t think we’d see it again.”

She said the community spirit in Vernon is to thank for the reunion.

“There are people out here that are just walking by trying to help,” Kruize said. “We moved to Vernon three years ago from Surrey and it’s so big, you just don’t get that. People don’t say hi or anything.”

But in Vernon, a town about 12 times smaller in terms of population, she said she has fallen in love with the community.

As for Henry, “he’s thrilled,” Kruize said. “He wants to launch it again.”

Kruize admits she’s a bit reluctant because while on the hunt for the toy, she learned it was against the law to launch rockets within the city limits.

The Vernon Morning Star has reached out to the City of Vernon for more information regarding the rules surrounding projectiles but has yet to get an official comment.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

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The family made a poster in attempts to find the lost Christmas present and it was quickly posted to the Vernon Rant and Rave community on Facebook. (Facebook)

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