LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) - Emmett Hynes loves his colorful parrot, his collectible plates, and a signed baseball on his stone mantle.
But there is an empty shelf he hopes to fill with a family keepsake he’s been trying to find.
"My father left [when I was a boy], and my mother raised 7 children by herself,” recalled Hynes pointing to old black and white, framed family photos hanging on his kitchen wall.
"We always went as a family to the state fair once a year," he added.
It was their annual tradition.
But he also cherished visiting the “World's Largest Stove” near Belle Isle. The 15-ton landmark was a wooden replica of a stove built for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
“My grandparents always told me that there were people living in the stove. So, you remember that,” he laughed.
When the stove was restored and moved to the Michigan State Fairgrounds, Hynes donated a memorial brick for its foundation.
“My brick's right there,” said Hynes pointing to an old snapshot of the brick. Then he read his name and those of his brothers who were living at the time.
"Emmett, Stanley, Jamie, Pat -- the Hynes' and we lived on Quincey Street."
“Three brothers are gone. They all died of cancer,” he said choking up a bit.
He'd visit that brick every year until the fair was shut down in 2009 because of state funding cuts.
The World’s Largest Stove burned on the locked up property one summer night in 2011.
And his brick?
"I didn't want to see it destroyed. You know, it's just a memory," he explained.
So he started a quest to find it, but he kept hitting brick walls.
He decided to call WXYZ’s Call For Action team when he wasn’t having any luck.
"I think Channel 7's always there for the people. More and more I see that on television," he said.
Our volunteers took the case and worked it for three weeks.
The Call For Action team found out that the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority at Cadillac Place is cataloging all of those fairground bricks -- more than 1200 of them. And the MLB is now developing a detailed plan to return those bricks to their owners.
"When I got the call that they had the brick, it was almost like an impossible thing. They have thousands of bricks there. How did they find mine? You know?" replied a smiling Hynes when he heard he'd receive the brick in a week.
He can't wait to place it on his mantle.
The Michigan Land Bank has a couple of ways for you to contact them about having a brick returned.
"If someone is interested in reclaiming a brick, they can contact the MLB at (517) 335-8212 or firstname.lastname@example.org . The MLB will take down their information and contact them as soon as the retrieval plan is finished," said MLB Executive Director Kim Homan in a statement.
Got a consumer problem?
The "Call For Action" team takes calls three days a week -- Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays -- from 11:30 until 1:30 in the afternoon.
The number to call is 248-827-3362.
You may also submit a complaint form online.
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