GREENSBURG, Ind.- Ahead of Memorial Day, a Greensburg veteran is reaching out for help.
Almost a decade ago, Rick Nichols found a box containing personal possessions of an Air Force veteran and has been trying ever since to find that veteran or his family.
“Everything I came across, all the houses, all the junk, this is the one thing I couldn’t part with, for whatever reason,” said Nichols.
It was back during the recession, around 2008, as the foreclosure flood was hitting full-on. Nichols was hired as a contractor to empty out bank-owned homes.
“[I] cleaned out a house in east Indy,” said Nichols, “and came across this box.”
It was like a pirate’s chest of treasures; the sepia gems inside, golden nuggets of a life well-lived.
“I’m led to believe he’s a family guy,” said Nichols, “he values his family.”
That guy, according to the Air Force discharge papers Nichols found, is David Carroll Wenner, once of Evansville.
“I’ve got a sense of brotherhood with prior military,” said Nichols, “and I think that’s what this was for me.”
Wenner’s story is now spread across Nichols’ living table: old high school yearbooks, photos, and newspaper clippings, all telling the story of this mystery veteran.
“One thing that stands out talking to one of the neighbors that I distinctly remember is they say he was committed to some kind of state home,” said Nichols.
If he’s still on this earth, then where? If he’s passed, what about his family seen smiling in so many photos?
“It kind of breaks my heart that they don’t have it,” said Angie Garner, Nichols’ girlfriend.
It’s Nichols’ mission now to find out where this all belongs; one last honor for a veteran he’s never met, but who he’s come to know over all these years.
“I’m not trying to be the hero,” said Nichols, “I just want the guy to… have his stuff back.”
Nichols says he has tried several times over the years to find Wenner or his family, but has had no luck.
If you know this veteran or his family, email our station at firstname.lastname@example.org.