Mother-son team find Summerfest medallion near home

Winners after years of searching, Barbara Zitur and her son Reilly Page found the Oakdale Summerfest Medallion in the wood chips by the Tartan Crossing rock. (Linda Baumeister/Review)
Winners after years of searching, Barbara Zitur and her son Reilly Page found the Oakdale Summerfest Medallion in the wood chips by the Tartan Crossing rock. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Good fortune continues after medallion hidden a second time

After years of searching for one, Barbara Zitur and her 19-year-old son Reilly Page found this year’s Oakdale Summerfest medallion coated in landscaping mulch just over a block from Zitur’s Oakdale home.

Zitur says they found the medallion shortly after the fourth clue was released the morning of Thursday, June 25.

Accompanied by the family dog Dulce, the mother-son team had been scouring the area near the Tartan Crossing development along with a handful of other medallion hunters that morning.

They found the medallion around 10 a.m. after studying the new clue posted to the city’s website. The two found the medallion hidden at the edge of the commemorative stone by the Tartan Crossing entrance, off Hadley Avenue and south of 10th Street.

Zitur says they had been close to the medallion a couple of times that morning before they finally located it. She says she accidentally kicked the medallion, which was wrapped in foam with landscaping mulch glued to it. She picked it up, dropped it and found the mass of wood chips didn’t break apart.

“I said, ‘Reilly I think I found something here.’ Then he took over and opened it. We were very excited.”

What the joyful duo did not know was another hunter had found the medallion the night before.

Longtime Oakdale residents Mark and Denise Skjerven were out searching for just a few minutes the afternoon of Wednesday, June 24, when they bumped into the medallion.

“I was standing by the boulder with the plaque on it and looked down at the landscaping mulch and saw a bunch stuck together. I thought, ‘This is odd.’ I could see it was coated with something,” Mark says.

The couple took it home and unwrapped it and saw they had indeed found the medallion.

However, Mark was recently appointed to serve on the Oakdale Planning Commission, and says amidst the excitement, he decided to look over the rules for the medallion hunt, and discovered he and his wife were ineligible, due to his new position on a city commission.

“I said, ‘I don’t think we can keep this,’” he recalls. “We decided to repackage it and put it back were we found it.”

Lady Luck shines down

Larry Eberhard of the Oakdale Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the medallion hunt, says he was pleased with the couple’s honesty - noting it would have been easy to give the medallion to a friend or other family member, and “cut them in on the deal.”

“I think that’s a huge testament to someone’s integrity and character,” he says.

The Skjervens -- who are experienced in geocaching and used to looking for things that are out of place -- say it all worked out in the end.

“When we heard [Barb] found it and received the prize money we were happy,” Mark says.

Finding the medallion came at a good time for Zitur, who lost her job along with about 200 of her co-workers in May, due to outsourcing at the company where she worked.

Since she had purchased a Summerfest button for $3, she was eligible to collect the full $1,500 cash prize, which she split with her son.

Zitur’s good fortune continued. The following Monday when she returned to the site where the medallion was found with Reilly to receive a $1,500 check from the OACC, she was offered and accepted a new job with U.S. Bank.

“We went to Holiday afterwards to buy a few lotto tickets,” she says with a laugh, noting her lucky streak.

Now that she is secure in a new job, Zitur says she will use her half of the winnings to replace an aging fence on her property. Her son plans to use his half to fund a road trip with a friend to the Rocky Mountains later this summer.

“I feel very blessed and lucky considering all the circumstances, and that someone was honest enough to put it back,” she says.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

 

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