FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Just in time for Memorial Day, a family in Michigan is getting a piece of military history that belonged to their late-father -- nearly 75 years ago. Georgeann Venis recently discovered dog tags from World War II belonging to James Russell Thompson in home in Fort Collins.
It wasn't clear how the tags ended up in the possession of her late-father, George Venis.
Venis told CBS4 she was recently going through her father's memorabilia from his service during WWII, and found an additional set of tags. When she read them, she saw they belonged to a man she never heard of. Thanks to help from others, Venis was able to find the family of James Thompson near Kalamazoo, Michigan.
"Things like this don't happen in your life that often," Venis told CBS4's Dillon Thomas.
Georgeann learned, like herself, Thompson's child was also named after his own father. James Thompson Jr. was thrilled to learn his father's dog tags were found -- nearly 75 years after he wore them.
The dog tags came from China, where Venis and Thompson served during WWII. Both were members of the Army Air Corps, and were involved in bombings.
"I couldn't hardly believe it," Thompson said.
"(The Thompsons) were thrilled, and could not believe it as much as I couldn't," Venis said.
Reflecting on time with his father, Thompson said they never realized his dog tags were missing from his collection.
"I asked my Mom, and she said she never ever remembered seeing his dog tags," Thompson said.
Thanks to an observant stranger, the Thompson Family will soon be reunited with the family heirloom they never knew was lost.
"After all these years, to be able to hold that is really important to us," Thompson said.
Venis said she intended to mail the tags to Michigan as soon as she could.
"It was truly an amazing and incredible experience that you could find these 74 years later and still find their home," Venis said.
for more features.