Man finds WWII soldier's medals at new and used store, returns t - WSMV News 4

Man finds WWII soldier's medals at new and used store, returns them to soldier's family

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LA VERGNE, TN (WSMV) -

We all have those items with such profound personal meaning, we never want to let them go.

When a man came across one particular find, he knew someone out there had to be missing it deeply. He took on the task of getting it home, unsure how likely he'd find that rightful owner. 

"Pretty much every time I come to Smithville, I always stop at this place," said Brandon Phillips, making his way through Pedigo's New and Used.

At the store, items included a vintage Mickey and Minnie, a Ms. Pac Man arcade and life-sized Wizard of Oz mannequins seated around a table for a tea party.

"They usually have a nice variety of the vintage stuff," smiled Phillips. "Of course, they have a nice collection of records too, and I'm also looking for those."

Phillips is drawn to that pop culture maelstrom.

"I'm looking for the jackpots like Zeppelin or the Beatles or something," he said, flipping through the records. "Jerry Lee Lewis, that's not too bad,"

Standing at the register, after his last scouring of the record stack, Phillips spotted something with far deeper meaning than the usual bits of '60s, '70s and '80s nostalgia.

"There's the medals, and I noticed there was a Purple Heart there," he said, motioning to the board he found covered in old flags and medals. "That was kind of hard to believe that would end up here."

At the center was the picture of a soldier who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His name was hand written on the board as "Captain Douglas Hancock."

"He's a hero," said Phillips. "A piece like that, there's really no price on it. It's priceless."

Phillips learned someone lost a storage unit with the board of medals on it, and he was going to be the one to get it back.

He took to Facebook and veterans pages with the message, 'I need your help!!!' He didn't think it'd be easy.

Within hours, the message had been shared by hundreds. The effort lead him to a home in La Vergne. The home belonged to Dolores Hancock-Sparks, Captain Hancock's daughter.

"Hello, Dolores," said Phillips as the door opened. "I've got something for you."

"Yes, you do," said Hancock-Sparks, her eyes welling up with tears as she took the board. "Wow. Thank you. Thank you so much. Let me shake your hand and give you a hug."

"This is a project my mother and I did for my father," Hancock-Sparks continued. "My father died in 2001. I lost it in storage in 2003. I never thought I'd see it again. I never thought. I spent many a sleepless night wondering and agonizing over the fact I lost it. I know he's smiling down on us right now."

New friends Phillips and Hancock-Sparks said they learned together, sometimes in the most unexpected of places, you can find something that means the world to someone.

"For someone to find it after all these years, I cried," said Hancock-Sparks. "It's a good cry. It's a great cry. It's not getting out of my sight again."

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