Have you ever checked online to see if there’s another you out there, somewhere?
U.S. Marshal Noel March found his doppelgaenger — to be more precise, another person named Noel March — this summer shortly after the 51-year-old Hampden man had been sworn in as Maine’s federal marshal in July. He Googled his own name to read coverage of his appointment and found a Noel March who is a 16-year-old Boy Scout from La Grande, Ore.
“That caught my attention because this is not a very common name,” Marshal March said Thursday, “and as I read about the other Noel March, I learned that he was being recognized as a top fundraiser for his high school band and I further read that he had just completed a cross-country skiing trail project for his Eagle Scout certification.
“I was impressed that this other Noel March was doing justice to our good name,” Marshal March joked.
Marshal March was impressed enough, and tickled enough by his discovery, that he eventually contacted La Grande Police Chief Brian Harvey and, through a La Grande Police Department reserve police officer, La Grande High School Principal Boon Setser, got word to the younger March’s parents that he wanted to contact their son.
On Wednesday, Scout March received a gift Marshal March sent from Portland, Maine, where he has an office. The package included a U.S. Marshal Service baseball cap, coffee mug, a pin and a tote bag and a note telling Scout March that the marshal service is “legendary for its skill and success in tracking down people.”
“Little did I suspect that when I entered my own name in a ‘media search’ that I would inadvertently track down another Noel March, and living near ‘the other’ Portland, no less!” March added.
The West Coach March and his family were charmed at the gift.
“I didn’t know there was another Noel March out there,” the younger Noel March said. “He seemed like a really nice guy.”
Harvey said that Setser contacted the March family by texting March’s mother, Anne, a teacher at the high school, with: “Need to talk to your son. The U.S. Marshals are looking for him.”
Actually, Setser left her a phone message saying the La Grande police were looking for him, Anne March said. “He should have said that, though,” she said. “That would have been great.”
Mrs. March wasn’t fooled. Besides being a Boy Scout, her son is an honor student at La Grande High, plays basketball and is a drummer in the school marching and jazz bands, she said.
“He’s a fantastic kid,” Harvey said. “Every community would want a kid like this.”
It’s pretty common, Mrs. March said, for people to look online for others with the same name.
“Almost everyone I know has tried it,” she said. “He [her son] hadn’t done it before, and I think he hasn’t been mentioned very much” on the Internet.
Harvey said he thought the March connection shows how small the Internet makes the world. Scout March plans to mail Marshal March some souvenirs from La Grande, a town of about 13,000, or might call March for a chat, if only to express thanks for the surprise.
“Usually when the police chief calls the principal and the principal calls you,” the younger March said, “it’s a bad thing.”