A Vietnam War veteran in Irving is searching for a Korean War veteran he's never met before, just so he can return a sterling silver memento of his service and sacrifice.
Hector Pena's nephew found a Korean War service ring on the ground at Grand Prairie Memorial Gardens. It belongs to someone who served in the U.S. Army and has the words "freedom is not free" on the outside. Engraved on the inside are the initials CTK, accompanied by the years 1950-1953.
"I think it's important to make sure that this gentleman gets it, if we can find him," Pena said. "And I'm sure he worked hard to earn it. So I think this is going to be a real, nice gift if we can find the family."
“It's a great piece. If you stop and think about it, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went behind this. Whoever dropped this ring would be elated to get it back."
Hector Pena's motivation, to find a man he's never met, comes from the fact that he served in Vietnam and that four of his brothers served in the military too: including an older brother who also served in the Korean War.
"He never really talks about it, you know. But now I know who he was, what he did, how tough it was for him," he said of his brother. "I don't know this gentleman here. He may have gone through the same pain."
WFAA checked records at the cemetery where the ring was found. The initials don't appear to match anyone buried there. Pena and his nephew do not believe it was left at the cemetery as a graveside gift or memento. They believe someone lost it and accidentally left it behind.
So Pena is asking WFAA viewers for help to return a sterling piece of history to the rightful soldier. "It's not even the beauty of the ring. It's the service, the sacrifice and everything these guys went through," he said.
And now he'll go to any length to make sure the soldier and his family gets it back. "I sure would like to find the owner of this ring,” he said.