When Lourdes McLaughlin was ten years old, living in Baguio City, Philippines, she came across a set of dog tags in a cave. They belonged to an American soldier. She hid her prize because others might want to sell the dog tags. She vowed that one day she would return the dog tags to the rightful owner.
Sixty years later McLaughlin found herself in Texas. She still carried the dog tags with her. It was time to make good on her promise. She contacted a genealogist and the search began.
The genealogist learned that the dog tags belonged to Darrel Thorsted. He was a prisoner of war and never came home after WWII. He died in captivity.
They found out that Thorsted had family in Utah, his brother, Chester, now 86 and Paul, now 83. McLaughlin sent the dog tags to Chester.
The family had lost track of Darrel. He was in the military and left for the Philippines. The last letter they got was in 1941. This was when they learned that he was married to a Filipino woman and had two children. After that, they heard no more until they were contacted by the military that Darrel had died.
The dog tags may not seem like much, but for Chester and Paul it’s a long lost treasure. They have no mementos of Darrel except for a photograph of his flag draped coffin. The dog tags provide a link to Darrel’s last days.