(WKBN) – Frank DeCenso, Jr., who used to live in Girard, was having coffee Thursday morning when he got a message from a stranger in France. He was skeptical at first, especially because the person knew his parents’ names, but he decided to take a chance and continue the conversation.
It turned out to be a choice with an amazing payoff.
“Her husband found a dog tag in a field with a metal detector that had my dad’s name on it and my mom’s name,” Frank said.
Once the green rust was cleared away from the dog tag, you could read “Frank DeCenso” and “Jane DeCenso,” plus a Girard address.
Frank Junior was amazed.
The DeCensos started their life together in 1943 in Girard.
Frank went off to serve in the Army. He worked on a tank destroyer, hunting German tanks in France during the mid-40s.
The dog tag was found roughly 50 miles from Normandy Beach in the city of Roncey.
“Apparently, in his travels and battles, must have lost it and didn’t think twice about it.”
It wouldn’t be found for another 70 years.
His father lived to the age of 96. He passed away five years ago.
Jane died two years later. They were married 71 years.
Frank Junior has other patches and things from his father’s service, but this find tops the list.
“Somebody found something new of my dad’s and I think that’s just awesome.”
He appreciates the fact the person tracked him down.
“I guess the moral of the story is you never know what somebody’s going to find and if you’re on the receiving end of something special, just be blessed. You’re blessed by it. It’s just amazing to me.”
The dog tag is a link to the past but now it’s also a link to the future for the DeCenso family. Frank Junior has a cousin who still lives in Canfield and has shared the story with them.
The dog tag will be sent to Frank Junior at his new home in Virginia.