WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s an update on a story we first told you about one week ago. All of it have to do with a late veteran’s flag, which was found in West Haven. We now know who it belongs to.
“It’s a great ending to a great story,” said Sean Slain of Wallingford.
Last week we introduced you to Slain and Scott Brown. Brown found the flag, in rough shape, along Campbell Avenue in West Haven. So he brought it to the VFW in Wallingford where he met Slain. Both of them then reached out to News 8 to help find the owner.
“You all did a great job at getting the message out there, getting the news out there to the people,” said Brown.
And it worked. Roland Smith was watching the noon broadcast when he realized the picture in the display case with the flag looked like his brother.
“I was totally shocked,” said Smith. “At first I couldn’t believe it so I had to come out here just to verify it. Once I got a close up look at it I realized it was my brother.”
“He had the same picture from the obituary from his brother’s funeral so I said there is no doubt this is your flag,” said Slain.
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That veteran now identified as Henry Lee Smith from New Haven. He served in Vietnam and passed away in 2006 at the age of 63. His sons are happy to have the flag back. However, they have no idea how it ended up lost and on the street.
“We gave it to our youngest brother and beyond that we don’t know how it got to the street,” said Jamar Iovieno, one of Smith’s sons.
“When you give someone something a little younger they don’t understand the significance of it,” said Travis Smith, another one of the sons. “So I understand. All is forgiven, but I’m just glad that it’s back and we are going to take good care of it from this point on.”
Add to the whole situation, Slain and Brown had the flag cleaned and bought a brand new display case before giving the flag back to the family.
“It means a great deal to me that they went through all this trouble just to get the flag back to the family and I’m eternally grateful for these guys,” said Travis Smith.
Mystery — solved!
“If it wasn’t for you and WTNH I don’t think we would’ve found the family,” said Slain.