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Son reunited with father’s WWI memorabilia

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – For many, when a parent or grandparent passes all they are left with are memories. That was the case for a Huntington man, until Monday morning. 75-year-old Vietnam Veteran David McKee sits on his porch with a framed photo of his dad, sharing his fondest memories.  

“We didn’t have a lot of money, but I remember my first Lionel train,” McKee said. McKee recalls his father going to war, “He never talked much about it.”

His father is Mason McKee, and what he never talked about was his role as a Doughboy in World War One.

“Every once in a while his hunting buddies would come around and they would go hunting, come back, sit and talk,” McKee said.

His dad was a 17-year-old when he joined and went to Europe to fight the “War to end all Wars” in the trenches of France and Belgium.

“A German came and run a bayonet plum through him,” McKee said. “He had a big scar here, one on his back where it went clear through him. Of course, he was a little fella back then.”

And that’s when Mason McKee shot that German – with this gun. A gun his son David says he hasn’t seen in decades. That changed Monday thanks to West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue. Perdue found the gun, some medals, and Mason McKee’s dog tags in an old, unused safe deposit box.

“I had forgotten all about it,” McKee said. “But once he mentioned it I remembered the gun, I remembered his name being stamped on it, you know, and it just brought back all kinds of memories. We used to hunt and fish together.”

Treasurer Perdue said this is the first time he’s ever returned property that happens to be this priceless, but this isn’t the first time he’s understood the sacrifice.

“This really touches my heart because my dad was a World War Two veteran and I’ve heard some of these stories myself,” Perdue said.

War stories – once tucked away in a safe deposit box, now in the hearts and hands of family. For more information from the West Virginia State Treasurer’s office on unclaimed property, you can visit their website.

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