Most people have heard of military dog tags but don’t necessarily understand their purpose or importance. Made of stainless steel, they’re designed to withstand incredibly harsh environments. They’re also made to last, meaning they don’t erode over time.
Who wears dog tags?
Enlisted personnel, both men and women, are provided dog tags. They’re issued to every branch of the military excluding the Navy. Soldiers are given two tags — one that’s worn on a chain around their neck and another that’s placed inside their shoe.Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons
What are they for?
As sad as it is, military dog tags help identify either wounded or killed soldiers. Inscribed with their name, DoD ID, blood type, and even religious preference, this allows officials to render faster aid and make quicker notifications in the event of death.YouTube Screenshot/History Source: YouTube Screenshot/History
Father and son outing
While enjoying an outdoor adventure, a father and his son came upon something completely unexpected. They were spending the Fourth of July kayaking in Ohio on the Hocking River. That’s when 12-year-old Kolton was picking up trash. Then, he noticed something in the water.Pexels/eMiL rAjAn Source: Pexels/eMiL rAjAn
A remarkable find
As he got closer, Kolton realized it was a military dog tag, an old one at that. On it was the name Rhonemus. He, along with the others, were shocked to find something like that, especially since they were so far away from civilization.Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad Source: Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad
Well, for Kolton, this was super exciting. You see, he has an aunt, as well as other members of his family serving in the military. So, he has a special interest in the armed forces. Just by looking at the dog tag, he was convinced it was real…and it was.Pexels/Pixabay Source: Pexels/Pixabay
Taking it home
Of course, there was no way Kolton was going to leave the dog tag behind. After they arrived back home, this boy and his mom started to clean it. They weren’t planning to keep the dog tab but rather, find its rightful owner.Facebook/Brandy Rhonemus Source: Facebook/Brandy Rhonemus
Utilizing social media
With a now clean dog tag, Kolton’s mom posted about his find on her Facebook page. She put out a message that they wanted to reunite it with whomever it belonged to. They knew the chances of making a connection were slim but they had to try.Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad Source: Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad
Surprisingly, the Conrad family received a response to the post within a couple of hours. It just so happened that a woman who saw the message recognized the name So, she contacted a friend who had a cousin by the name of Kimberly Greenlee. Come to find out, Kimberly was the sister of the Rhonemus individual on the dog tag.Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad Source: Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad
The story unfolds
The man’s full name was Steven Rhonemus, a US Marine. After sustaining an injury while serving the country, he received an honorable discharge. Unfortunately, he was killed in a motorcycle accident back in 1974. While on that particular trip, he’d somehow lost his dog tag.Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad Source: Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad
Meeting in person
Considering the purpose of the Facebook post was to reunite the dog tag to its owner, it made sense for the Conrad’s to meet with Kimberly. They chose a local park and there, Kolton handed Steve’s sister this precious memento. In exchange, she handed him a gorgeous bouquet of red, white, and blue flowers.Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad Source: Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad
As she put it, “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. 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.”Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad Source: Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad
Passing it on
Rather than keep her brother’s dog tag, Kimberly presented to Steve’s daughter, Danielle. Since she was born after the death of her dad, she never knew him. The exchange was extremely emotional. Kimberly stated, “She said it felt like God was letting her know her dad was with her and watching over her.”Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad Source: Facebook/Ashley Scurlock-Conrad
Kimberly and Danielle both thanked Kolton and the rest of his family for what they did. To them, this boy had given them back a piece of someone they dearly loved and missed.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.