Wallet, owner reunited after 61 years
January 6, 2010
- Aca,!A"The look on dad's face was pricelessAca,!A?
- Aca,!A"We were so elated to locate and return the wallet"
ANSBACH, Germany -- In spring 2009, a U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach employee found a wallet. A few months later, the item's owner, Jack Grose, was reunited with the leather billfold and all its contents, after having been without it - for 61 years.
Aca,!A"The look on dadAca,!a,,cs face when he saw the pictures (in the wallet) was priceless,Aca,!A? said GroseAca,!a,,cs daughter Trina Winegardner, of Marion, Ind.
The wallet was found, among other old items, in a Barton Barracks building attic store room by Directorate of Logistics staff member, Robert Howard, a property book officer.
Howard said the attic store room was like walking into a time capsule and thatAca,!a,,cs where he found the old, dusty item.
Aca,!A"You could tell it was not new; wallets do tend to get dog-eared over time, but I did not think it was this old,Aca,!A? he said.
As he looked through the wallet, Howard found Jack GroseAca,!a,,cs ID card.
Aca,!A"I was looking for more of a unit designator,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"When I started seeing the pictures in it, it seemed to me that the wallet had been up there for quite a while.Aca,!A?
Howard reported this to his director, who dug deeper into the wallet and found another interesting item.
Aca,!A"We found this ripped-in-half money order, date stamped Oct. 4, 1948, in the amount of 60 dollars,Aca,!A? said Mickey Mumfrey, director of logistics.
From the names on the money order, the Directorate of Logistics staff went to work to locate its owner and successfully contacted John Peck, a local volunteer genealogist for the Grant County Historical Society through a simple Internet research.
Peck later contacted Grose and connected him with the Ansbach Directorate of Logistics.
Aca,!A"The money order found in the wallet was for my (grandmother), Pauline Ferguson,Aca,!A? said Winegardner, who believes her father was saving some of his income for his mother for when he got out of the Army.
Once the news of the find reached the family, Winegardner said she contacted some of her fatherAca,!a,,cs Army buddies to share the news.
Aca,!A"The members of the 97th Signal Corp hold a reunion each year and IAca,!a,,cve had the pleasure of meeting several of the gentlemen,Aca,!A? she said.
Winegardner later learned from one of her fatherAca,!a,,cs Army buddies that Soldiers back then were paid about $120 per month.
Aca,!A"Sixty dollars was half of his paycheck - quite a savings plan,Aca,!A? said Winegardner, adding that her father, now 78, living in Marion, Ind., and married to his wife for 50 years, often spoke fondly of his time in the service and the places he had been stationed - Germany and France being his two favorite locations.
Aca,!A"Aca,!EoeAny morning you wake up is a good morning,Aca,!a,,cAca,!A? Winegardner said, quoting her father.
But back in Ansbach, once the garrison Directorate of Logistics personnel received the address, they immediately mailed the wallet and all its contents to Grose, who, according to Winegardner, has it displayed in a large shadow box.
Aca,!A"We will proudly display it in our living room and be happy to tell the story to anyone who asks about the kind people in Germany who not only found the contents, but went to great lengths to find the rightful owner and return it to him,Aca,!A? said Winegardner.
Winegardner said to some people, it was just an old, dusty wallet, but to her father, it was a priceless memory.
Aca,!A"If it were one of our own family members, we would want the pictures for our memories,Aca,!A? said Mickey Mumfrey, director of logistics for the garrison.
She said she and her staff were confident the wallet belonged to a Soldier and wanted to attempt returning it to its rightful owner, if possible, or at least to the SoldierAca,!a,,cs family.
Aca,!A"We were so elated when we were able to locate and return the wallet to him after all this time - seemed like a miracle come true,Aca,!A? Mumfrey said.