CARBON HILL, Ala. (WIAT) – One man’s discovery of a veteran’s dog tag in the UK has led him on a journey to Alabama.
The veteran’s dog tag was discovered by Philip Forman, a man who lives in the UK. He says he was out metal detecting when he came across the tag in a field that was known to be a training area for American troops back in the 1940s. The name on the tag was still legiable despite its old age: Jim H Flanagan.
Forman then rushed home and went online to try to make contact with Flanagan’s family, sending messages and eventually posting on a Carbon Hill Community Facebook group- which caught the eye of TJ Armstrong with the Walker County Sheriffs’ Office.
“Several people had commented saying they didn’t know anyone with that last name or anything. I contacted Mr.Forman at that time and said if (he) could give me all the information (he) have, I could do some in-depth research to see if we can discover some family members or where they actually live now,” said Armstrong.
Using resources at the Sheriff’s office, Armstrong then searched Jim Flanagan’s name in TLO, an online investigative system.
“I find his grandchildren, and there are several of them. I don’t know who’s alive and who isn’t alive,” Armstrong explained. “So, we go through and find cell phone numbers; I immediately start texting phone numbers, and we received one response and that was from a great-grandson.”
Flanagan’s family decided it was best to keep the dog tag in Carbon Hill rather than the UK. Armstrong then reached out to a friend at the Carbon Hill American Legion for some guidance on what to do next.
“The next step is to get this into a nicely formatted documentation. Then we’re going to take the dog tag and get to stand off the paper to give it a shadow effect and then put it in a shadow box. We want it to where people come by and see the wall and say, ‘Hey he’s come back’ that’s kind of the expression,” said John Pruett, with the Carbon Hill American Legion.
Pruett says the legion will be holding a ceremony with their members to honor the veteran and reveal the shadow box in the near future.