Everything happens for a reason.
That was the thought that ran through 9/11 widow Marion Otten's mind when the memorial bracelet of her late firefighter husband, Michael Otten, appeared in her mailbox. She'd originally given the bracelet to her son Jonathan, who lost it on an East Islip beach on Long Island, New York, a decade ago.
"It was just a bracelet to me back then," he told NBC4 New York. "It didn't have such a big meaning as it does now."
Lucky for the family, Marlene Quinn recently came across the bracelet as she was walking along Robert Moses Beach, thinking of her own firefighter brother who'd recently died, CNN reported. She immediately reacted to the name -- her brother's name was Michael as well -- but then also recognized the last name. Quinn and the Otten family were both from the same town on Long Island and had, in fact, been neighbors in the past, according to NBC 4 New York.
Quinn decided to look up the family's address and mail them the bracelet along with a handwritten note. The serendipitous find brought the two families of fallen firefighters together last Friday. While the Ottens will always grieve the loss of their husband and father, they will also now celebrate the return of this precious item commemorating his bravery and service.
"There are no coincidences," Marion Otten told NBC. "There's a reason why it happened. It brings us together for whatever reason."
This isn't the first time a family grieving the Sept. 11 attacks was reunited with a token from their lost loved one after a decade of waiting.
In 2012 a note written by broker Randy Scott, who worked on the 84th floor of the World Trade Center, was found and returned to his family. The note, which reads, "84th floor, West Office, 12 people trapped," may be simple but proved to his wife and three daughters that he did not die instantly as they had believed for so long. The note is now on display at the Sept. 11 Memorial.