INDIANAPOLIS - A soldier is reunited with a sentimental token of his deployment to Iraq thanks to a stranger and social media.
Tanya Christie found an American soldier shadow box that contained a U.S. flag, picture and medals on U.S. 31 in Johnson County on Saturday. She dodged traffic as cars and trucks whizzed past to recover the box.
Not knowing how to find the owner, she turned to Facebook and RTV6. Christie knew the shadow box meant something special to someone.
"I would want it back. I would be saddened without it, and my biggest fear was it was somebody's only memory," she said.
Christie posted a picture of what she'd found on Facebook and reached out to the media to spread the word, hopeful that she could enlist some help to find out who it belongs to and return it.
"Once you seen the flag, you see this picture just kind of like barely hanging on there, and in my mind, all I can think of is maybe he was the guy and that was the kids and this is all they had," Christie said.
RTV6 posted the picture on its Facebook wall , asking people to share it. The post reached more than 200,000 people within a few hours.
"I went to all the news stations, and channel 6 was the only one that cared, and you guys helped me find him," Christie said.
People who recognized the family pictured got word to the owner, Jeremy Daugherty, an Army national guardsman. Daugherty said he is thankful Christie found his flag, earned after nine months in Iraq. He picked it up from her Sunday.
"My kids … were too young to understand when I was gone or what I was doing," Daugherty said. "Maybe one day they'll ask me about it, and I'll be able to tell them what the significance of it, what it really means, because we're all patriots."
"Look at what they go through just to have this in the end. They get a small, small check. They get small appreciation, and they get this," Christie said. "They deserve to have it."
Daugherty, who lost the box in a recent move, has a growing family, recently welcoming a newborn girl.