LEWISTON, Idaho – The man who found dog tags in a beer stein he purchased from a Lewiston thrift store said the grandson of the dog tags owner has contacted him.
Christopher Wilks posted on his Facebook after he found the dog tags in a beer stein. Wilks said when he took the 1992 Winter Olympics stein home and started checking it out more, he found an envelope that had ‘Dad’s military dog tags’ written on it. The tags belonged to Wilmer G. Priest
Priest joined the Army Air Corp and flew 26 combat missions during the war. His daughter Sally Smithee recalled one of the stories.
"The pilot and co-pilot were both killed. So he had to crawl up and guide the plane back to base, and fly it over enemy territory," said Smithee.
Priest moved to Southern Idaho after the war and became a farmer. He did that for years before passing away in 1997. The family is still a little confused at how the dog tags got into the beer stein.
"It's hard to say how it got to Lewiston in a thrift store," said Smithee.
Now, Wilks said Priest's grandson, who lives in Boise, reached out. Priest's daughter, who also lives in Boise, reached out to our sister station in Idaho via email. She said she saw a Facebook post about the dog tags and that her family made contact with Wilks.
"I was so surprised to see my own handwritten script in a picture with the article on Facebook," Sandra Priest Haines said in the email.
When Wilks first found the tags, he and his dad tried tracking down the family of the veteran but had no luck. His dad posted it to a World War II buffs Facebook page and that only came up with dead ends. Wilks shared the pictures on his own Facebook page, hoping that somehow, someway, the family might see it.
I'm told the grandson of Wilmer Priest, who lives in Boise, contacted Wilks this evening. Awaiting more info of how the relative got word...— Taylor Viydo (@KREMTaylor) July 6, 2017
Just as Smithee saw Wilks' Facebook this morning someone else had contacted her nephew in Boise about the dog tags.
The family is happy to be getting them back and is grateful it got into the right hands.
"I'm touched. Very touched that he went to the effort to locate the family. We very much appreciate that he did that," said Smithee.