Lifestyle & Human Interest

3 Years After Army Vet's Uniform Goes Missing, He & Wife Find It Hanging in Antique Shop


Moving is a hassle. No one likes sifting through their possessions, boxing up their belongings, and hauling everything to a new location. That’s probably why some boxes stay packed and stowed away.

Every once in a while, though, there will be a particular item you’re trying to locate that you just can’t find anywhere.

You know that in the shuffle of packing, tossing, and donating, that you might have permanently misplaced it, but it’s tough to give up hope — especially when the wayward item holds significant sentimental value.

That was what happened to Xenos Lopez of Bakersfield, California. What should have been a fairly uneventful move from one area of Bakersfield to another turned sour when Lopez lost a precious belonging: his Army Greens.

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“We were moving from one side of town to the other and sometime during the move my uniform disappeared,” he told CNN. It had been years since he’d last seen it, and all he could figure was that maybe someone stole it while they were moving.

But it was a recent stroll through Mill Creek Antique Mall, also in Bakersfield, that reunited the man with his medals and uniform.

“I looked through the shop and when we got ready to leave, my wife points out my uniform,” Lopez said. “I was shocked … how did it get here? But I knew it was mine for sure.”

“Just everything that’s on it is mine so you just instantly know,” he told KERO. He posted photos and the story to Facebook on Feb. 16.

“The craziest thing happened to me today,” he wrote. “I lost my Army greens a few years ago when I moved.”

“Today I went thrift shopping downtown with my wife and as we were getting ready to leave she points out a uniform hanging on the rack. I look at it and instantly yell ‘That’s mine!'”

“I asked the owner Rick where it came from and explained it was mine and how I lost it a while back. He said ‘It’s yours take it!'”

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“I am so grateful to have my original uniform with all my awards and my Beret returned to me. Thank you guys at Mill Creek Antique Mall you guys made my year!!”

Rick Freels, owner of the shop where the Army uniform was being displayed, was kind to offer the item back so quickly. “I said it’s yours, you earned it and I could tell how much he appreciated it,” Freels said.

Lopez plans to keep an eye on it, and create a display for the medals so he won’t lose track of them again and will be able to appreciate them often.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking