A Wylie man and Dallas JROTC instructor enlisted the help of his high school classes to return a piece of WWII memorabilia he’d collected to its rightful owner in Las Vegas.
Harold Loew, 87, told NBC affiliate KSNV the uniform had been lost when he moved from California in 1960.
A Dallas high school class tracked down Loew because his enlistment papers were still in one of the jacket’s interior pockets.
About five decades after Loew’s Marine Corps uniform was lost, the 87-year-old World War II veteran has been reunited with a piece of his past.
Loew lives in Las Vegas.
He said the uniform was lost when he moved there from California in 1960.
From there, the story takes a turn – to Wylie, Texas.
“For 50-some years, he never knew what happened to it,” said MGySgt Stephen Donelson, a Marine with 24 years of active duty behind him.
Donelson lives in North Texas and is a JROTC instructor at W.T. White High School in Dallas.
He is also a self-described military history aficionado, saying that in 2011, his daughters came across Loew’s WWII uniform on eBay.
They bought the well-preserved jacket and presented it on Father’s Day.
“It still had the ribbons on it, still had the patches on it,” Donelson said.
The uniform remained in his office with his other military collections until this school year, when Donelson included it in a history lesson.
He showed his high school class the documents that had come inside the jacket’s pocket with Harold Loew’s complete record of service.
That inspired students, like, senior Salma Petine into action.
“I was like, we should call him! I know it’s him!” she said.
Using a simple Google search, she found Loew’s phone number and address in Nevada.
“It is an honor for me, that we have found Mr. Loew.”
What followed, Loew told NBC5 affiliate KSNV in Las Vegas, was an emotional reaction to the idea that someone would offer to return the uniform he lost 50 years ago without asking for payment.
“We have a saying – once a marine, always a marine,” said Donelson.
“We take care of each other,” Donelson said.
“Just to know that I gave back something to him that he can remember and cherish and probably pass on to his family, that’s important. I’m really glad we did that,” Donelson said.
Loew’s uniform is now hanging in his closet.
Petine told NBC 5 that the military will be in her future beyond high school.
She’s committed to the Marines Corps as well, and will leave for training in South Carolina after graduation this summer.