What started as a fun outing for the Conrad boys and their dad quickly turned into an incredible discovery.
On July 4, Bernie Conrad took his two sons kayaking on the Hocking River in Ohio. They were picking up trash along a beach later that day when 12-year-old Kolton spotted something in the water. It was an old military dog tag bearing the name Rhonemus.
Kolton is a big fan of history and the armed forces. Plus, his aunt serves in the military, as have other family members. As such, he believed the tag was the real deal — and he was right!
After cleaning it and double-checking its legitimacy, Kolton’s mom Ashley posted on Facebook, hoping to find the rightful owner.
Just hours later, they hit the jackpot! A woman recognized the name and called her friend, whose cousin, Kimberly Greenlee, was the stranger’s sister.
They soon learned that Kimberly’s brother, Steven Rhonemus, was a U.S. Marine whose service ended because of an injury. He passed away in a motorcycle accident in 1974, and somewhere along the way, he lost his dog tag. Kimberly wonders if he dropped it during a trip to the river.
Eager to reunite her with Steven’s precious keepsake, the Conrads arranged to meet Kimberly at a local park. When she arrived, Kolton presented her with the tag.
“It’s just amazing to think about, this tag was lost for 46 years, and for this little boy to find it on Independence Day, of all days,” Kimberly told the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. “And for him to realize the meaning behind the tag and to hold on to it, to help a stranger’s family, it’s amazing.”
Kimberly knew exactly what to do with the dog tag! She gave it to her niece Danielle, who was born after her father died. “It was emotional when she got it,” Kimberly explained. “She said it felt like God was letting her know her dad was with her and watching over her.”
They don’t have much else to remember Steven by because a fire destroyed many of his photos and possessions, so the tag means the world to their family!
“We have so much gratefulness for [the Conrads], from the bottom of our hearts,” Kimberly added. “They were able to give us back a piece of my brother and helped show respect to the military, the respect it deserves.”
What a beautiful coincidence, although if you ask Kimberly, it’s fate. We’re so glad Steven’s tag is home where it belongs. Great job, Kolton!
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