DELAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A couple in DeLand, Florida is trying to find the owner of military uniforms, boots and a dog tag found in an old suitcase. Thomas Webb says he discovered the suitcase about a year and a half ago near a Central Florida dump.
“I noticed an odd looking trash bag ripped open with a suitcase in it. So, decided to investigate and take it home” he said.
As an Army veteran himself, he knew the meaning of what was inside as soon as he opened it.
“He was definitely an airborne paratrooper,” Webb said, looking at the uniforms. “He was definitely in the Army.”
Webb says he and his wife were in the middle of a move, so they set the suitcase aside for a while. But now that things have settled down, they’re on a mission to find where it all belongs.
“It’s like a living year book, it’s tangible,” Webb said.
His wife, Melissa, says she’s already made 78 calls and sent 48 emails. She says an online search of the name on the dog tag, “Michael Joseph O’Keefe’ led to her to a matching name on the virtual Vietnam Wall. But since O’Keefe is pretty common, she’s not sure if it’s the same man.
“I just started picking one by one, writing them down in my book. Calling them, leaving a voicemail. Hoping somebody would call back,” she said.
The couple says they won’t give up until they find the soldier or a loved one to return the items and make sure they’re safe.
“It would make my day but probably not as much as the person it would belong to,” Thomas Webb said. “It’s something to cherish. Living history.”