A U.S. military keepsake found on the other side of the world almost 20 years ago is making its way home, through a Connecticut connection.
The dog tags were discovered in Australia, and last month the woman who found them tracked down the family in Niantic.
It was last month when Christine Firman said she opened up Facebook to one of the most wonderful and surprising messages.
"When I read it and then she happened to send a picture of the dog tag, and I just started to tear up and I went ‘Oh my God, that is my uncle’,” Firman said.
The message came from a woman in Australia, named Tamara Heinjus, who found the dog tag 18 years ago in a reservoir, which proudly beared the name Angelo Calla.
Via email, she told Eyewitness News she tucked it away in a box, and came across it last month.
"Tamara could not find any information on my uncle and she found me through my dad's obituary,” Firman said.
Since then they have exchanged dozens of emails, connecting in a way that wasn’t possible so many years ago.
Firman said her uncle, her father, and their three brothers all served during World War II.
"My uncle died young. He was not even 50. I think he was like 47 when he passed away, and his sons were young, so how wonderful would that be to be able to give them back a piece of their dad,” Firman said.
Heinjus said while it took years, she always knew it was the honorable thing to do. She said “I'm humbled at how many well wishes I've received through wanting to return the tag to a living relative...I have the utmost respect for anyone who serves in the allied military, and I think it's only right that something so personal make its way home.”
Firman said she hopes to one day meet the woman she now considers family.
The tags will be mailed to Angelo Calla’s family in Pennsylvania.
The family said they are still digging into how it ended up in the middle of Australia, about 2,000 miles away from where he was in military training.
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