Melegrito's late father-in-law gave him the machete about 30 years ago

Melegrito's late father-in-law gave him the machete about 30 years ago. When he lost the machete on Sept. 7, 2019, he thought it was gone forever.

When David Dizon Melegrito’s bolo machete went missing Sept. 7, he thought all was lost.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Columbia City Council, Melegrito shared what he calls “the saga of my almost missing machete” and thanked Columbia solid waste workers for eventually recovering it.

On Sept. 7, Melegrito was cutting branches in his front yard on Oakland Gravel Road with the machete. Done with work for the day, he left the tool on a pile of newspaper set out for recycling. The next morning, he went outside to find the machete had been picked up along with the rest of his trash.

“There I was, trying to console myself and asking why I left it,” Melegrito said in an interview before the council meeting.

Melegrito’s late father-in-law gave him the machete about 30 years ago when he was visiting family in the Philippines. While it was missing, he said he would look at the machete’s empty sheath in frustration.

“For a week, when I saw that sheath, it looked lonely, empty, naked,” he said. “You know, I felt the same way.”

Melegrito did all in his power to get the machete back. He called the Columbia sanitation department, went to the Columbia Sanitary Landfill on Peabody Road and even went to the city manager’s office to see if anything could be done. It was all to no avail, he said, until a worker found the tool at the landfill on Sept. 16, a little over a week after he had lost it.

“He described to me what it looked like and I said, ‘Yes! Thank you and hallelujah,’” Melegrito said.

Melegrito said he was happy to take the opportunity to publicly thank the sanitation workers, who he said aren’t thanked enough.

“Could you imagine if we didn’t have these guys? We’d have these piles of trash for days or weeks or months,” he said at the meeting. “Our city would stink with a capital ‘S.’”

Supervising editor is Kaleigh Feldkamp

  • Fall 2019 public life reporter. I am a senior studying international journalism and Spanish.

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