Woman finds stranger's military diploma, needs help returning it - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Woman finds stranger's military diploma, needs help returning it


An East Texas woman has stumbled upon an army certificate that she wants to return to its rightful owner. She's not sure where it came from or who it belongs to, but she hopes some clues she has, and the public's help, can point her in the right direction.

Linda Smith of Troup loves going to garage sales, but after the last one she went to a couple of weeks ago, she ended up getting home with a little more than what she intended to pay for.

"I had found a box of picture frames and I purchased them, and when I went to take them out of the box to look through them, I came across this diploma," says Linda.

"I didn't want to just throw it away or take it out or add another picture. I wanted to find that person to give it to them," she adds.

In the same box where Linda found the certificate, she also found a photo of a young man in a graduation gown. She doesn't know if the two items are related, but she hopes that if they are, someone will recognize the man in the photograph and help her get the items back to the family they belong to.

Linda says she knows the items don't belong to anyone from the sale where she got them.

"I appreciate what he has done for our country. I appreciate everything all of the military men and women do for our country," says Linda.

Linda knows the diploma, which she accidentally purchased for just $2, has to be worth much more to the person who earned it. However, all she can tell from the document is that it was issued to U.S. Army Private First Class Matthew V. Taylor at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio in 1997.

As someone who says she loves history, Linda would like to see the diploma make its way home.

"I love history. I'd love to know who that person is. I'd love for him to have it back," says Linda.

Friday a photograph of the diploma was sent to someone in the Texas chapter of the Military Officer's Association of America. They said they'll see what they can do to get Linda more information about who the document belongs to.

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