"This could have just been left in the trash, but maybe this family can now have some closure and learn some things about what their father did. He was a hero," said Navy vet and American Legion Post 544 Commander Jeff Truitt
Many veterans lead a very silent life after they come home from war, never asking for attention or glory. U.S Navy veteran Donald Helfer had flown in 28 missions over enemy territory during WWII and had been decorated for his bravery and service. Apart from being awarded the Navy Flying Cross and a Bronze Star, Helfer had even received a stirring letter from Harry Truman in which the President expressed his gratitude for helping “bring about the total defeat of the enemy” and offering the “heartfelt thanks of a grateful Nation," according to the Good News Network.
Helfer, however, was not one who would go around bragging about his achievements. He was never the one to seek glory. After leaving the military, he went on to become a police officer in upstate New York, eventually retiring to Florida. The hero passed away in 1993, taking the memories of his impressive military achievements with him. His family would have never known about this if his personal items hadn't surfaced in years to come. It is said that while Helfer’s children were aware of their father being in the navy, they never knew the true nature of his service.
They made the incredible discovery concerning his forgotten legacy when someone found Helfer’s personal items—including medals, photos, identification, and military records— in the Hickory dumpster. The man who found them immediately recognized their worth and turned over the cache to Navy vet and American Legion Post 544 Commander Jeff Truitt for safekeeping until his relatives could be found, reported the Good News Network.
Truitt located Helfer’s grown children in Rochester, New York, and his daughter, Linda Delorey, living in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. “This could have just been left in the trash, but maybe this family can now have some closure and learn some things about what their father did. He was a hero, Truitt told FOX News 46. It was further reported that Delorey drove from Wilkesboro to Hickory to meet up with Truitt and found herself in awe as she turned the pages of the neatly organized binder Truitt had put together containing her father’s precious mementos.
She got to see some never-before-seen snaps of her dad and for the first time, Delorey also saw a photo of her grandfather. It was a very precious moment for her and the rest of the family. Delorey now looks forward to showing it all to their family who is eagerly waiting for the same. “This guy was a hero in World War II. He was just one of the millions who served—and that’s his story that can be told forever now," Truitt added while talking to FOX, reported the Good News Network.