Midland woman travels over 1,400 miles to return Vietnam veteran’s belongings

Midland woman travels over 1,400 miles to return Vietnam veteran’s belongings

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - "I was so nervous," said Justine Strong, granddaughter of a Vietnam veteran.

The reason for her nerves involved Strong's grandpa, his buddy from the Vietnam War and a few keepsakes that she discovered after her grandpa's funeral.

"We went over there for his services and afterward my aunt asked to go through some of his stuff, so we can take it home for the kids," said Strong. "When we were doing that, we found the knife and the dog tag."

Those items belonged to William Tindell, a friend of her grandpa, Glenn Conn, who served in Vietnam with him.

"We just kept looking at them and I realized I needed to find him or his family because I know, if it was me, I would love to have something like this because it's a big deal," said Strong.

Justine found Tindell and took the over 1,400-mile drive from Midland to Lakeland, Fla, last weekend.

"I was just really excited, and I was just telling the kids this is a really important thing and we were going to make somebody happy," said Strong.

For Tindell, the feelings were mutual.

"When Justine text(ed) my wife and they started communicating, I got kind of excited," said Tindell. "This was something I carried every single day with me."

Tindell, who never thought he would see his belongings again because he gave them to Conn, got his knife and dog tag back.

"I'm going to put it in my shadow box with all my other military stuff and I'm going to pass it along to my children and my grandchildren," said Tindell.

You can imagine the meeting turned into a blast from the past.

"The stories I got to hear fit my gramps to a tee," said Strong.

Keepsakes brought these two families together. Now, they have many memories to look forward to in the future.

Strong said, since she's been back, she has been in contact with the Tindells. Strong added she wouldn't have been able to make the trip without the help of her family.

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