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Military flag found by Altoona Police Department is reunited with the family

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Sarah Winkelmann | WEAU

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Altoona Police Department, a local woman and the power of social media helped return a missing family heirloom. On Saturday, a military flag that had been missing for years was reunited with the family.


After the flag was found during a K-9 training, the Altoona Police Department put out a call on social media asking for help, and this community did just that. The only information they had was the name on the front, Roscoe Harris, who served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945.

On Saturday, Roscoe's family drove from Baraboo, WI to pick up the flag from Altoona. Heather Kannenberg, Roscoe's granddaughter says that she thought another family member had it this whole time, but somehow it got lost it along the way. "I was dumbfounded to hear him say that they had been looking for us, I was shocked," Kannenberg said. "I was just very thankful that there is kind people out there that care to make sure that the belongings get back and that my family could have a piece of my grandpa back."

Heather has no idea how the flag display ended up in the junkyard but she is extremely happy to have it back in the family. "My grandpa was a story teller; he always loved to tell stories so when I think about getting this flag back to me this is just another story of grandpa," Kannenberg said. "I have a feeling he is up in heaven looking down on us saying yup that is just one more story that you've got of me I haven't been forgotten."

The military flag display had been missing for years but not that it has been rediscovered, it is bringing back old memories to life. "I remember I would always get grandpa a cup of coffee when he'd come to visit," Kannenberg said. "Grandpa drank his coffee black but when I would take it to him he would make me stick my pinky in it so I could give him a little bit of sugar."

Making the trip to Altoona is bringing a sweet ending to this long mystery. "I had people reach out to me that had no idea who I was and all they wanted to do was make sure that our family got this flag back," Kannenberg added.

One of those people was Mary Proctor from Eau Claire. "I am the woman, the woman that found the people so that is me," Proctor said. After seeing the story on WEAU 13 News that Altoona Police were searching for the family, she started doing her own research. "It hit my heart because my son is a marine and military and I know how important that flag is," Proctor said.

After searching and searching, she found an obituary for Roscoe's son which led her to the names of grandchildren. "I know grandchildren nowadays are all of Facebook so I looked her up on Facebook and sent her a creepy message saying please contact me if you are related to Roscoe," she said.

Heather Kannenberg was hesitant at first for her daughter to respond to the Facebook message, but they are forever grateful that they did. On Saturday they met up at the The Livingroom in Eau Claire to exchange stories about Roscoe. "Very happy, very happy that it has found its home and that it will be respected," Proctor said.

Now that the flag has been reunited they are turning the page to the next chapter in Roscoe's story, which is one that will never be forgotten. "My heart is just overflowing with the amazing support that everyone has shown us," Kannenberg said. 

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