Clinton County family learns of recovered memento via Facebook

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OSBORN, Mo. -- It's a very high-profile case of lost and found. A military family from Clinton County thought a lost memento was gone for good until they logged into Facebook last Sunday.

The world changed forever for the Kelley family from in Osborn, Mo,, the day their son Matthew was killed in the line of duty in 2009. Members of his unit had special bracelets made, commemorating the names of all four soldiers killed that day.

The Kelleys thought their bracelet was lost until that morning when they logged onto Facebook.

"That's the first I knew of it," Ret. Col. Steven Kelley said, who served 28 years of his own in the U.S. Army.

The Kelleys' older son, Chris, had lost his memorial bracelet during a visit to Daytona Beach, Fla. in 2012. The bracelet was lost in the Atlantic Ocean, and believed to be gone.

"To me, the most amazing thing is that this bracelet showed up again," Kathy Kelley, Steven's wife, said.

Yasmine Todhunter and her husband say they were walking down the beach near their home in Ft. Lauderdale. They found Chris' lost bracelet in the surf, more than 200 miles from where it was lost.

"That was astonishing!" Col. Kelley said.

Todhunter's post to Facebook was seen by over 200,000 people, including the Kelleys, who still ache from losing their son Matthew.

He was doing what he enjoyed the most -- serving his nation as a military helicopter pilot in the Middle East -- when he was shot down during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Matthew knew what he was doing when he joined the army," Col. Kelley said. "It's now an all-volunteer army. He knew exactly what he was doing."

The fact that so many people shared the information meant a lot to the family.

"That's what we appreciate, that five years later, that people still care," Kathy Kelley said.

Col. Kelley was happy to see social media put to good use.

"There's a lot of wasted time on Facebook," Col. Kelley added. "Here's a case where it really accomplished something useful and of lasting value."

On Friday, Chris Kelley will fly to Orlando, Fla. to pick up that bracelet from the Todhunters. The two families agreed that Kelley would come pick it up in person, so that words of gratitude and respect could be exchanged.

The Kelleys say they're not sure if he will wear the recovered bracelet, or put it away for safe-keeping.

Click here to check out Sean McDowell's FOX 4 Facebook page.

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