PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It was an emotional discovery in an attic: a man's World War II uniform and other items from that era. The items were found during a renovation at a home in Phoenix's Arcadia neighborhood.
The man who found the items worked to track down the soldier. It took some time, but he found them. They left the items in the attic and sat there for years until it was time to renovate the property where the late soldier and his family lived for more than half a century.
The uniform is in great shape, and the pins still shine. They sat undisturbed until someone found them.
"He said I think we found your dad's uniform in your mom's old house," said Leah Morse.
Inside an old bag with the late soldier's name on the front, was the uniform and magazines from WWII, an old checkbook, and wooden shoes from Holland.
"We were a little astounded to realize we had left something very important in that attic," said Morse.
The family sold their Arcadia home in 2013. They thought they cleaned out everything, but the new owner started renovating recently and found the bag. He worked with his realtor to track down the previous owner, Thomas Wilson Jr., who lived in the home for 56 years with his wife. He died in 2012; his wife is now 96.
"Big surprise, I thought what is it, what do we have here, and where has it been all this time? I knew what they were, but it had been so long since I had seen anything like that," said Delma Wilson.
The uniform still looks like it did in the mid-1940's when her husband served in the Army.
"Beautiful uniform with the bright buttons on it, I am really impressed," said Delma.
His family says Wilson didn't talk about the war often, but he wrote a memoir that will be passed down to through the generations. And now so will everything else found in that attic by the home's owner.
"It was so nice of him to think even to do that, it is priceless, you can't replace something like that," said Morse.
Wilson supervised a team of black soldiers who drove and maintained ambulances transporting the wounded. Back then, the military was still segregated. After the war, Wilson's family says he kept in contact with some of them.