Social media helps Boise family find long-lost dog tag

A WWII veteran's dog tag is being returned to his family after being found in a beer stein purchased at Lewiston thrift store. But the mystery surrounding the tag's disappearance continues.

BOISE - A long-lost military dog tag will soon find its way home to a Boise family. The tag, which once belonged to Wilmer G. Priest, was recently found in the most unlikely of places: the bottom of a beer stein purchased at a Lewiston thrift store.

Priest's daughter, Sandra Priest Haines, tells KTVB that her father served in World War II as a crewman on a B-24 bomber.

"He's a real hero of the greatest generation," Haines said. "He's certainly a hero to our family."

After Wilmer Priest passed away, his dog tag - a reminder of his years of service - was handed down to his daughter.

But at some point years ago, the dog tag disappeared. That is, until this week when it turned up at the bottom of a 1992 Winter Olympics commemorative beer stein.

Chris Wilks purchased the stein at Lewiston thrift store, but it wasn't until he got home and looked inside the mug that he got a surprise - A single dog tag with the name Wilmer G. Priest wrapped neatly and tucked deep down at the bottom.

"Wrapped up inside of all of that was a letter that said 'Dad's dog tag,' Wilks said. "And we thought that was pretty weird."  

Wilks knew he had to find the rightful owners. He and his dad initially tried tracking down the family of the veteran but had no luck. Wilks shared the pictures on his Facebook page, hoping that somehow, someway, the family might see it.

It worked.

Haines, who lives in Boise, saw a shared version of the Facebook post, and immediately recognized her own handwriting on the paper that accompanied the tag.

"My husband is very active in our family's ancestry," she said. "He got a message from a very kind person named Robin who told him that on Facebook there was an article about these dog tags. We all responded and got connected so the story has a happy ending."

Wilks says he will be sending the tag to the family in Boise.

MORE: Boise family to be reunited with long-lost dog tags

"I know these connections made on social media are a commonplace now but I'm old enough that it still blows my mind that we have made this connection in such a short amount of time," Haines said.

And while the story has a happy ending, the mystery of the lost dog tag is not completely over. Haines still wants to know how it got into a beer stein, and ended up in Lewiston.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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