Christine Rogers remembers the day she realized she’d lost a priceless piece of memorabilia that belonged to her late husband, Chief Petty Officer Larry Rogers, who served in the Navy for 25 years and passed away in 2009.
It was her husband’s U.S. Navy burial flag, displayed in a glass case with the officer’s name inscribed on the back.
“I spent a whole day crying about [initially losing] it,” Rogers told Fox 31. “It was devastating, but I had to tell myself you just have to let it go.”
Rogers, who recently relocated to Brookings, Oregon, arrived at her new home to find the moving truck lost many of her belongings. Her husband’s burial flag was among the items unaccounted for.
Rogers had no idea the irreplaceable treasure was sitting at a storage shed in Colorado, among boxes earmarked for the dumpster.
Peter Mikulin had been hired to dispose of abandoned boxes at a storage business which had been shut down by the state, KDVR-TV reported.
Mikulin, a Navy veteran himself, was shocked and dismayed when he came across the patriotic memento, destined for the trash.
“We found a burial flag. A U.S. Navy burial flag for a chief petty officer,” an emotional Mikulin said. “Somebody is missing this. Absolutely.”
Knowing the deep value and meaning behind the flag, Mikulin desperately wanted to return it to its rightful owner.
“It’s a disgrace. It’s an insult,” Mikulin said of the flag’s disappearance. “This belonged to a hero. A Chief Petty Officer.”
Though his expectations for success were low, Mikulin set out to find the family of Chief Petty Officer Larry Rogers.
With the help of Fox 31’s Problem Solvers, Mikulin was connected to Christine Rogers, who was overcome with emotion at the surprise find.
“It means everything because it’s absolutely the only thing I have of memorabilia of our life together and his military time,” an appreciative Rogers said.
“To hear that the flag is gonna make it back to me, means everything.”
Mikulin was at a loss for words over the unexpected outcome, but couldn’t be more thrilled that the flag is on its way home.
“My goal was to get it back to her because it’s rightfully hers,” Mikulin said. “I’m just the poor schlub that found it. I wanted to do the right thing.”
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