by Kim Powell
ODESSA - On the phone: "Good afternoon, Hondo Anvil, how may I help you?"
"Yes, is this Kathy?" Paula Roberts asked.
"Yes it is."
"Hey Kathy, it's Paula from Odessa with Charlie the Flag," Roberts said.
Roberts was shopping at the Goodwill in Odessa with her daughter when she found an old veteran's flag on the back shelf gathering dust, with a curling strip of masking tape that read "Charlie Gaston (funeral drape)" and a price tag of $9.99.
"We know what the flag means. We know it's a sign of somebody in the military that they've died and the sacrifices that they've given," Roberts said.
With enough determination, Roberts got to work to track down who the flag belonged to.
"I called every place you can even imagine," Roberts said.
One thing led to another, and another. She discovered that Charlie Gaston served in World War II and graduated from Texas A&M in 1928.
But how the flag ended up in an Odessa Goodwill on 42nd Street is a mystery.
Eventually, Roberts found his adopted son Georg all the way in North Carolina.
"They were excited to know that the flag existed. They never knew it existed," Roberts said.
It turns out, Charlie the Flag never made it to Gaston's funeral in Hondo, TX back in 1988. It had been ordered and shipped, but no one had heard anything about it since.
Georg is now in his seventies and battling MS, and being taken care of by his sister-in-law.
"She said when he found out about the flag that he smiled and that it had been the first time he's been happy in a long time," Roberts said.
It just goes to show, with enough determination--and good Internet connection--anything can be found.