Family reunited with WWII veteran's lost dog tags - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Family reunited with WWII veteran's lost dog tags

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Mark Whipkey reunited Maryann Jernigan with her late husband's dog tags. Mark Whipkey reunited Maryann Jernigan with her late husband's dog tags.

The family of a World War II veteran was reunited with the man's dog tags on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Mark Whipkey told FOX 5 that he had found the tags and was searching for the owner. Hours after the story aired, Frank Bell Jernigan's family contacted FOX 5.

Jernigan was a World War II veteran, a coach, principal, DeKalb County school board president and a recreation director at Georgia State. He passed away five years ago. Jernigan's widow, son and daughter said they are thrilled to learn of the tags.

"It's kind of like having him saying hello to him -- another memento to keep," said Frank Jernigan Jr.

"It was like someone was giving me a part of Frank back," said Maryann Jernigan, Frank's widow.

Whipkey found the dog tags buried six inches under the topsoil at a DeKalb County park.  

"Finding this is just amazing to me because we played in this field for years every day," said Jernigan Jr.

"It was exciting someone found it. I have memories of supplementing allowance as little girl because dad was always losing things and he would pay me to try and find them. So it's so ironic," said Anne Jernigan Velez, Jernigan's daughter.

"It means a lot to me that someone would think about what that would mean to his family," said Maryann Jernigan.

The Jernigan family said they are thankful to have their piece of history back and grateful that Whipkey took the time to return it.

"It makes me feel good inside, not only that I found the dog tag but that I touched someone's life," said Whipkey. "For me to look and see that I was part of making someone's day and putting a smile on theirs faces, it's priceless."

Whipkey is a Gulf War veteran and lost his dog tags during service.

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