Owner of military foot locker lost in East Texas found

Published: Sep. 5, 2016 at 10:31 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2016 at 1:42 AM CDT
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Talking to Robert Cook (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Talking to Robert Cook (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Shipping the foot locker in Mineola (Source: Kelly Smith)
Shipping the foot locker in Mineola (Source: Kelly Smith)
Foot locker (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Foot locker (Source: KLTV News Staff)

The owner of a military foot locker that was left behind in an East Texas town has been found.

We first brought you the story of the foot locker left in Quitman last week.

(KLTV) - Read More: East Texas Veterans searching for owner of lost military storage chest

Medals, letters and photos, along with the name Robert Cook, were found inside. Cook was tracked down Friday, through Facebook and tips sent to the Marine Corps League in Mineola from our story.

We were able to speak with Robert Cook, who's now in Virginia, about the contents he says represent a time in his life he hasn't seen for many years.
"It's just something that I couldn't replace and it's just a whole big part of my life that was missing there," says Cook.

The items in this foot locker tell the story of Robert Cook's long service.

"It was unbelievable, I thought all those things were lost and I didn't think I'd ever seen them again. And it's a lot of time invested and people don't understand unless you've been through those kind of things," says Cook.

After the army, Robert Cook got an oil job and moved to Quitman; a few years later, in 2010, he moved back home to be with family, and somehow the foot locker was left behind.

"I was diagnosed with PTSD six years ago, and I had put a lot of those things up because some of the memories were painful," says Cook.

"And then I got through the difficult part of the PTSD and I just couldn't remember what had happened to them, and now I greatly regretted losing them," says Cook.

They're items like a small teddy bear.

"My kids had sent it to me when I went to Iraqi freedom two in 2004-2005, and just little things like that, I slept with that thing every night, and it helped me get through," says Cook.

Pictures we now know to be from Iraq, flags, one for a buddy lost in Kosovo, and another, for those lost in Iraq.

"Yeah, I had some friends that had lost their lives and I had one friend that had lost his leg over there, and it's just something I'd gotten as a remembrance," says Cook.

They're items that Cook is ready to see again. On Friday, Kelly Smith with the Marine Corps League in Mineola sent a video of them mailing the footlocker.

"I'll feel a little overwhelmed, I think, at first, seeing all those things again, but on the other hand I'll be really happy. And I'll be able to put them up and display them properly, and very proud to have them back, too,
says Cook.

Cook says the foot locker should arrive tomorrow. He says even though his birthday was yesterday, he'll have to celebrate once again, when he's able to look through those items.

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