POSTED: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 10:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 10:04pm
SULPHUR SPRINGS, TX (KETK) — An East Texas woman is on a personal mission to help return an item that she found at a Goodwill store to its rightful home.
Teresa Aguilar, of Emory, started her journey on February 15 when she posted a photo of the picture to multiple Facebook pages.
Mrs. Aguilar says she knew it was the right thing to do when she discovered the photo at a Sulphur Springs Goodwill store.
"I thought, well, that shouldn't be here, so I bought it for $3 and brought it home with me."
After bringing it home, Aguilar began searching the frame and photo for some kind of identification. Unfortunately, there were no markings anywhere on her purchase. That's when she took her search online posting to multiple lost and found and garage sale websites on Facebook.
When nothing panned out right away, Aguilar contacted the Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois, as well as a local recruiter.
"I took the photo to a Navy recruiter in Greenville, and he told me it had to be in the mid to late 90s and latest 2001...or a time before the Persian Gulf War."
The bit of information was made revealed by a missing pin in the photo, which was taken following basic training graduation.
The pin is called the National Defense Service Medal, and it is only given to military members who served during a "national emergency" or war time. This means the photo would derive from anytime after the Vietnam War and before the Persian Gulf War (1975-1990) or after the Persian Gulf War and before the Global War on Terrorism (1995-2001).
Mrs. Aguilar tells KETK she also talked to the District Manager of Goodwill in Sulphur Springs to find out where all the picture could have originated. The store picks up items from stores in Gainesville, Mckinney, Greenville, Commerce, Sulphur Springs, Paris, Mt. Pleasant and Durant, Oklahoma, according to the manager.
And she's not alone in her quest, the online community has shared the photo thousands upon thousands of times. One woman, Deborah Morey, has taken it upon herself to help Aguilar as much as she can garnering more than 19,000 shares.
Meanwhile, the leads have been slim. As of Tuesday morning, Aguilar has received only one email that could lead to an answer. She says a woman contacted her claiming her husband, who's company graduated in the 90s, recognized the man, but could not put a name to the face. The couple is currently searching to find his naval yearbook.
Mrs. Aguilar tells KETK this isn't something she's done before.
"No, I have not, but my son goes into the Navy in April. That's when he goes to Great Lakes," said Aguilar. "It wouldn't matter the military branch. I couldn't let it sit there."
The East Texan hopes to find the picture's home, but if it doesn't, she'll put it with other military family photos.
"If [the military] doesn't want it, then I'll just keep it."