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Kentucky man reunited with message in a bottle after 37 years

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A Florida family found a message in a bottle washed up on a beach and tracked down the man who threw it into the ocean 37 years earlier.

Katie and Annie Carrmax said they were walking with their two young daughters along the shore in Sebastian on Nov. 13 when they came across a pair of teachers participating in a clean-up effort in the wake of Hurricane Nicole.

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The teachers gave the family their most unusual discovery: a message in a bottle.

"We just feel really special that we ran into two wonderful teachers picking trash up after the hurricane," Katie Carrmax told WLKY-TV.

The Carrmax family chronicled their story on TikTok as they attempted to find the author of the letter, Troy Heller, who had included a Louisville, Ky., address and a phone number in his note.

The family used Heller's old contact information to search for him online and found a man by the same name was living in Mount Washington, Ky.

Heller said he initially ignored a call from the unknown Florida number, but a text message soon came in that grabbed his attention.

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"As soon as I saw it, I remembered writing it," he said.

Heller said he was only 10 years old when he tossed the old Pepsi glass bottle into the Atlantic Ocean during a trip to Vero Beach, Fla., in 1985.

The bottle only traveled a few miles from where it originally entered the water, but Heller said he was shocked to learn it had survived for nearly four decades.

"I'm just surprised it didn't break," he said.

The Carrmaxes sent the letter back to Heller, who placed it into a frame alongside a photo a family member snapped of him throwing the bottle into the ocean in 1985.

"It's something you never thought would happen," he said. "I thought I'd just throw it out in the ocean and just see where it went, you know? It's just amazing that it finally found its way back."

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