Year-long search reunites POW’s lost ring with family


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You just never know what you’re going to find in the Lost and Found box.

“About two years ago, a box of lost and found items needed to be sorted out, so we set to work,” explained Marianne Davis, who works for the Office of the Patient Experience at the Greater Los Angeles VA. “What with sending back IDs, shredding expired credit cards, etc., we finally got down to one ring.”

But this was no ordinary ring, according to Davis.

“It was something special, something important,” she said. “The inscription on it read, ‘Sunchon Tunnel Massacre, 1950 Korea, POW Survivor.’  And on the inside was a name, Walt Whitcomb.”

How the ring ended up in the lost and found box no one will ever know. But clearly this was an item that needed to be returned to its owner, pronto.

“Since Harry Corre in our Veteran Experience Office is an ex-POW himself, I asked Harry to look Mr. Whitcomb up and see if we could get his ring back to him,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, Mr. Whitcomb hadn’t been in for services for several years; Harry gave me a phone number and address, but the phone had been disconnected, and the letter we sent went unanswered.”

But Marianne Davis is no quitter. She was not about to give up.

“I locked the ring in my drawer and cruised the Internet,” she said. “No Facebook, no LinkedIn, but there was a Find-Your-Korean-War buddy type of site, and I entered my information about Mr. Whitcomb’s ring.”

Image of Beneva Beamon, Marianne Davis and Harry Corre of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Photo by Raymundo Arellano

Beneva Beamon, Marianne Davis and Harry Corre of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Photo by Raymundo Arellano

A year went by, and nothing. Nada.  Dead silence.

“Finally, I decided it was time to excess the ring,” Davis said. “I processed the paperwork and sadly gave the ring to Supply to deal with.”

It was at this moment that fate decided to intervene.

“The very next day my phone rang,” Davis said. “Mr. Whitcomb’s son, Dennis, who lives in Kansas, was calling about the ring! He was so amazed and moved that we still had it, as his father had passed away several years ago.”

“My first wife is the one who actually found the information on-line, then she told me about it,” said 57-year-old Dennis Whitcomb, an Army Veteran. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’  So then I called Marianne.  I think she was jumping just as high as I was.”

But hold on. Where was the ring now?  Lost forever in the supply warehouse?  Sitting in a filing cabinet somewhere, hidden away for all eternity?

“I ran over to Supply, hoping they could find it,” said Davis. “Fortunately I found Beneva Beamon who works for Acquisition and Material Management.  Beneva did some sleuthing and finally found the ring, and it’s now on its way back to Mr. Dennis Whitcomb in Kansas City.”

Marianne Davis said her two year quest to find the ring’s owner just goes to show that persistence usually pays off in the end.

“Sometimes it takes a bit of work,” she said, “but we always strive to reconnect Veterans with their lost belongings.”

“I thank Marianne every time I talk to her,” said Dennis Whitcomb. “I’d been trying to find that ring for years.”

Author

Tom Cramer

Comments

  1. JD Bean    

    These are the stories that should be told about VA and its employees going above and beyond, unfortunately all we generally hear about are the mistakes and/or problems. These stories need to get as much national and regional press as the bad stories. I have experienced many positive experiences and often wonder about the, “rest of the story” behind all of the negative stories the press publishes. I often drop a “thank you note” for a job well done to the folks in the local VA comment boxes but am yet to hear anything in return which is not a negative but I often wonder if those comments are in fact making it back to the sections, supervisors and individuals that cudo’s are being give to. I have dealt with the Main VA hospitals in Lexington, KY, Kansas City, MO, Miami and Tampa Florida as well as the satellite clinics in Somerset, KY, Belton, MO and Overland Park, KS all have been awesome and everyone seems to go out of their way to help everyone equally!

  2. NOLA Electrician    

    Great story! So touching that she kept the ring for so long to return to him and his family!

  3. Colonel Stephen E. Katz    

    I was @ the VAMC Long Beach, CA for a blood test. When the technician pulled my jacket off, my wedding ring came off inside the sleeve. I didn’t realize that it was missing. Aside from the sentimental value, it was made of yellow & white gold & had 10 diamonds. Initially, I thought I had forgotten to put it on, but when I got home, of course, it wasn’t there.

    Long story short, when I contacted Lost & Found a few days later, I learned that some kind & honest person had turned it in, & I was able to retrieve it. Still wear it daily, although my wife,a former USAF Flight Nurse, has passed away. I treasure the ring. Unfortunately, the finder did not leave a name, so I was unable to thank & reward him/her.

  4. Ruth Vela    

    I’m sure the Whitcomb family was very elated with the return of the Ring. Such a moving event, thank the VA employees for their hard work.

  5. Linda McMurtray    

    There are wonderful, caring people at the VA. We thank God every day for our VA folks here in Fort Worth.

  6. Frank Abbate    

    Glad to hear your ring was found. My High School Ring when I was in Korat Thailand in 1966 was never turned in after I had left it on the sink in the Latrine. It was from St Helena Business High School in 1962…..Frank

  7. Brett Peloquin    

    I think these VA employees for the dedication to their task

  8. Dolores Buck    

    I hope and like to strongly believe that there many like Marianne Davis in our world. Thank you Marianne for your persistence and thank you for getting that very special ring back to the family who earned it.

  9. donnitta brown    

    It brought tears to my eyes

  10. Donald Coffin    

    What a great story! I am having my morning cup of coffee and this really made my day. It’s nice to know that there are people who care about others even if they don’t know them personally. These kinds of stories should be shared more often. They are very uplifting.

    Thank you,

    Don

  11. Debbie Munt    

    These are the stories that should be told about VA employees going above and beyond, but all we hear about are the problems. These stories need to get as much press as the bad stories. As both a federal government employees and a retired military member – it was hard hearing about all the bad things that the government and military does.

  12. Renee Reed    

    THIS SO INSPIRING. BLESS EVERYONE WHO WORKED SO HARD TO PLACE THIS RING WHERE IT BELONGED. PRAISE GOD FOR THIS GIFT FOR HIS SON.

    RENEE

  13. Charlie    

    There are always honest people

    1. Felix Knight    

      A great big thanks to Marianne

      – a vet

Comments are closed.