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Sea-Tac’s airport logs over 30,000 lost items a year

lost property

There are laptops and cameras, passports and drivers licenses from all 50 states, plenty of luggage and bags, stuffed animals, jewelry and belts.

Then there are the rare items like a violin, binoculars, false teeth and a prosthetic eye. Every year, 30,000 items show up inside Sea-Tac Airport’s lost and found — all of them left behind in the airport terminal or the TSA Security line.

But all that stuff is not what makes the lost and found so special: It’s the people who work there.

Managed by the YWCA in partnership with the Port of Seattle, the lost and found mentors men and women in need, providing them a place to learn job skills they’ll need to enter the working world.

“First I applied for housing assistance, then I talked with my case manager. They offered schooling and helping to build my skills,” said Shiela Certeza-English.

Years ago the YWCA helped her find a place to live and helped pay for computer classes. Now she works full time for the lost and found, combing lost laptops and cell phones for clues that lead to their owners. And she is good at what she does.

Veta Hernandez, the manager at the lost and found, said they reunite about half the items brought to them. Most of the other half, including clothing, child seats and strollers, is donated to Children’s Hospital.

With the holidays quickly approaching, Hernandez said she’s expecting a flood of lost items. But she said her staff will be ready, searching for owners and hoping to put smiles on their faces.