by Kim Powell
ODESSA - Charlie the Flag never made it to a World War II veteran's funeral back in 1988. It was ordered and shipped, but no one had heard anything about it until a few weeks ago, when Paula Roberts was shopping at a Goodwill in Odessa. She spotted the flag in a plastic case on the back shelf, with a piece of masking tape that read, "Charlie Gaston (funeral drape)," and priced at $9.99.
It didn't take much convincing for Roberts to buy the flag and get to researching. In just a week and a half, Roberts not only discovered who Charlie Gaston was, but also found his adopted son Georg--all the way in North Carolina.
Roberts contacted the school that his sister-in-law once worked at, and she couldn't believe the news when she got the call.
"Someone in Odessa, TX has found the flag that was supposed to be on his father's casket, and I said, 'what?'" Mary Lou Barnes said.
Georg is now in his seventies and suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, but Barnes says this flag has made him smile for the first time, in a long time.
"He smiles at good classical music and he smiled at this," Barnes said. "He said he only wished that it would have happened when his mother, Jewel, was alive, because she would have really been thrilled to have gotten that flag."
However, the flag isn't the only thing being sent to them. Roberts also found Georg's naturalization papers from his adoption--something he has never had.
"I said, 'Georg, do you have a copy of your naturalization papers?' And he said, 'no.' So I said, 'well, you do now!'" Barnes said.
Needless to say, Barnes is grateful for all the hard work that Roberts put in to making sure Charlie the Flag gets back home.