Woman spots special scrapbook, does research to find and return it to veteran’s family

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Cheryl Boyce and her husband found pages of history in an old scrapbook; a scrapbook one local family never meant to lose.

"My husband being a vet, naturally, it just kind of shocked us. I mean, dog tags, CDRT papers, pictures, sketch drawings, everything... his whole career was in this book," said Boyce, who stopped at the Salvation Army on Metcalf with her husband, and found a scrapbook.

"The first instinct is, does somebody not care? Or is it an accident? Why is this up here?" added Boyce.

Boyce said the scrapbook had a $50 price tag, but it contained tons of personal information, things that shouldn't be for sale. They decided to buy it to try and find the owner.

"We went home, spent the weekend going through this book," Boyce explained.

Because of how much personal information was inside the scrapbook, Boyce searched the Internet, made some calls, and was able to connect with the family.

"It was documentation of my uncle's service years during WWII," said Austin Landreth, whose uncle, Herman Bregen, would be 98 on Wednesday. He died at age 42 from a heart attack.

Landreth said he didn't even know this scrapbook existed, and that is must have been at the bottom of one of the boxes they donated after his mother passed.

Regardless, Boyce said it should not have had been for sale.

"Why are we putting social security numbers out on the shelf, dates of birth, everything? There was a lot of formal documentation in there that nobody needs to see," Boyce added.

Landreth said it didn't bother him that it was for sale, he just found it odd.

"Why a Salvation Army would want a scrapbook like this, I don't know, unless someone noticed because it did cover a segment of WWII that it may have some value to it," Landreth said.

Landreth says he's amazed at the kindness of strangers, and is so thankful to have the memory of his uncle returned.

The Salvation Army provided this statement.

The Salvation Army Thrift Stores are run and maintained by the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC), a Salvation Army program. ARC extends a sincere apology to the family who was notified that personal information of a late family member was found by a Thrift Store shopper. Each day, the Thrift Store receives between 1,500 to 3,000 items and we do our very best to sift through every item to ensure that we remove anything that should not be appropriate for sale. Unfortunately we had an oversight with this one item and deeply apologize that it was put on our store shelf. We are grateful for donations, and encourage the public to please go through their personal items before donating them to ensure that they are free of personal information or identification.

-       Adult Rehabilitation Center

On the subject of WWII – Landreth wanted to acknowledge Mr. Ed Boswell, a friend of his, who is one of the last KC area survivors of the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. Like his uncle, Boswell was part of "The Greatest Generation".