A St. Paul story: How the Winter Carnival treasure might end up at St. Thomas

Father James Lavin, 90, one of St. Thomas' most beloved ambassadors, had some special visitors last week: Joe Horwath and his daughter Jessica, a student at St. Thomas. The Horwaths dropped by to show off their recent find.

A St . Paul story: How the Winter Carnival treasure might end up at St. Thomas

Here's one of those stories that define St. Paul, "where everybody knows everybody." Start with the photo above.  

Father James Lavin, center, has been a member of the St. Thomas community for more than seven decades. Lavin, 90, has spent most of his life working for St. Thomas and is one of the university's most beloved ambassadors. He now resides at the Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home in St. Paul, and remains active, working for the university's Alumni Association.

He had some special visitors recently. Joe Horwath, left, of Maplewood, is a son of one of Lavin's St. Thomas classmates and volunteers at the nursing home. (One more thing: Don Conway, St. Thomas' former public affairs director, lives there now, too.)

Joe's daughter Jessica (right) is a junior at St. Thomas. The father-daughter duo dropped by the nursing home last week to show Lavin something special: the St. Paul Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt medallion.

The Horwaths found the medallion Jan. 28 in Swede Hollow Park on St. Paul's East Side. The annual Treasure Hunt, which coincides with the St. Paul Winter Carnival, yields $10,000 in prize money, along with $1,200 in gift certificates from Cub Foods. So Jessica wants to go shopping. Her dad wants to pay Jessica's tuition bill at St. Thomas.

Lavin, UST booster extraordinaire, was delighted that the Treasure Hunt prize could be coming back to St. Thomas.

And one more thing: Joe's cousin Josie Driscoll works in St. Thomas' University Relations Department. But she lives in Wisconsin.