Veteran's search for prized possession comes to an end - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Veteran's search for prized possession comes to an end

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- A local veteran's journey to reclaim a prized possession of his service has ended.

It began during World War II when Ray Plenge was stationed in Italy. He took an artillery shell to a jeweler where it was engraved with the names of the men in his unit.

But it was a cherished possession he would never see again.

In September, Plenge traveled on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. where he told Newsline 9 how that happened.

"As we were traveling north in Italy, the shell disappeared out of my duffel bag," said Plenge. "I always carried it in my duffel bag."

For years, Ray thought he would never see the shell again. But a letter and a photo from a stranger changed that. It showed a couple in Italy with his treasure.

But there was a problem. The couple didn't want to part with it. That's when the veteran decided to reach out to Congressman Sean Duffy.

"We made a couple phone calls, we talked to the American Embassy over in Rome, and they were very helpful," said Jenifer Nawrocki, legislative assistant for Rep. Sean Duffy.

Finally, the woman decided to giver Ray his shell. Duffy's office called him to tell him the good news.

"We contacted him right away, and he was elated," said Nawrocki.

But on Tuesday, Ray Plenge passed away—just days before he would have seen his shell. Now, his family will receive the shell in Ray's honor.

"We'll be hopefully carrying it aboard a flight out to Wisconsin Rapids where Mr. Plenge had lived, and it'll hopefully be in time for his funeral on Friday morning, and he'll have his shell casing," said Nawrocki.

Ray's daughter tells Newsline 9 this will be a special time. Even though her father didn't actually get to see his shell, she says he was just as happy knowing it was finally on its way back to its rightful owner.

Online Reporter: Daniel Woodruff

Powered by Frankly