Boris Stern, A 92-year-old Battle of Bulge survivor has been reunited with a dog tag he lost days before the bloody World War II battle 73 years ago.
Thursday, an envelope addressed to Stern arrived from a man named Jean Paul Mandier in France. He picked it up at the post office and then ran another errand at his local pharmacy.
The owner of Carrollwood Pharmacy, Dan Fucarino helped Stern open the carefully sealed envelope.
“He actually slit the envelope open and that’s how we looked at it,” explained Stern. “He showed it to everybody in the store, and it was a big deal.”
“You could tell the light, when that dog tag came out, he was lit up with enjoyment and happiness and felt, I think, that he had come full circle with that dog tag,” said Fucarino. “It was a beautiful thing.”
A collector of relics, Mandier bought the dog tag from a friend. Searching for Stern online, he discovered he lived in the United States.
Mandier contacted another friend in Cincinnati to help him locate Stern. She came across a newspaper article, found out he lived in Tampa, and was able to track down a phone number.
“I was a very lucky guy to get this,” said a humble Stern. “I’m even more lucky because everybody seems to think it’s a big deal. I’m just happy I got it. It just brings back a lot of memories.”
Stern has already thanked Mandier in an e-mail, but he’d like to do so in person one day.
The return of his dog tag is somewhat bittersweet. The treasured item came to Stern’s mailbox just weeks after his wife’s death.
Stern was in France last year to be presented with the country’s highest distinction – Knight of the Legion of Honor.