Spring Valley resident reunites a man with his dad's missing war - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Spring Valley resident reunites a man with his dad's missing war helmet

SPRING VALLEY, Minn. (KTTC) -- For years the family of a soldier killed while serving in WW2 have searched for his personal belongings, including that, of his helmet. Call it coincidence, as a man from Spring Valley reunites Major Roger Damon's son, with his father's missing helmet.

Gary Peterson had been living with a piece of history for years. It wasn't until his "curious" journalistic side came out, that he began to question just who the helmet belonged too. In finding its right-full owner, he brought more than just joy to one family, he also made a new-found friend.

For 10-years this old world war 2 helmet was just another collectible in Gary Peterson's home, until he found a name in the helmets webbing.

"I remember when I was in the military every piece of clothing we had was always numbered and they could tell you identity just by you fatigues. I thought in the back of my mind, could their be a name in this, that no one else has either looked for or identified," explained Peterson.

And so, the mystery of R.H. Damon began. As a former journalist, investigating was nothing new for Gary, but he credits the Internet for helping him find Major Damon's son, also named Roger, who lives in Vermont. With a clear destination, the helmet was shipped to its rightful owner.

"Then the phone ring and he said, hey, the box just got here. Everything is in tact, I said boy that's just great. He said you can't imagine how much my family appreciates this," said Peterson.

This is video of 90-year-old Roger getting a first look at his father's helmet.

"You wanted to keep these so they weren't shiny. Germans see something shiny on a helmet they say, hey there is an officer, shoot him. Get a sniper take him down. Feel how heavy that is," stated Roger Damon, proud "new" owner of his father's helmet.

Damon rushed the sands of Utah Beach but his helmet was lost during battle.

"Your principle strap, your chin strap is this one. Once they were buckled they didn't come loose very easily,' explained Damon.

In January of 1946, newly promoted "Major" Damon was slated to return to the United States, but he never made it home. He was killed when a piece of debris struck his head. This one artifact is bringing history to life...

"His grandsons looked at it and they were handling it and looking at it. For them it brings them right up to their great-grandfather," stated Peterson.

A bridge to the past, by a man living thousands of miles away, who solved a mystery hidden in a helmet. Roger was an engineer and served in the military, just like his father. Although Gary wasn't able to deliver the helmet to Roger in person they're hoping to meet up sometime this next year.

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