4th grader unearths Korean War vet's dog tags, returns them to family

A 4th grader in Fairview dug up Korean War dog tags and returned them to Coos Bay family, Dec. 6, 2017. (SBG)

COOS BAY, Ore. -- Thanks to a chance discovery in Fairview, the family of a Korean War veteran in Coos Bay have something to cherish forever.

Military dog tags issued in the 1950s were dug up two weeks ago by the Beam family while working in their yard in Fairview.

"When I first found out about them, I thought, okay, so they're dog tags; I don't really know much about them, so they're probably not that much of a big deal," said fourth grader Katie Beam of Fairview.

She took the dog tags to show-and-tell at school, and that inspired her teacher to embark on a mission to return them to relatives.

"I'm from a military family,” said United Calley Christian Academy teacher Jil Sanders. “My family was career Air Force, so it meant a lot to me on a personal level to help get the tags back to the family."

Sanders posted photos of the tags on Facebook. Within two hours, she found relatives in Coos Bay.

Wednesday, Katie presented the old tags to the family.

“William ‘Hob’ Spurgeon is his name, and he's my uncle; he's my mom's brother," said John Johnson, the nephew of the man whom the tags belong.

Hob Spurgeon was a Korean War veteran who died in the 1980s.

His nephew says Spurgeon never had kids but treated his nieces and nephew as his own.

“When she found these,” Johnson said, “I just went out on my porch and sat there and just looked up at the sky and thought, well, maybe this is the way the good Lord has to talk back to me for the man.”

Thanks to a fourth grader, the long lost military dog tags have been returned to the family of one of our nation's Korean War veterans.

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