When Eligio Ramos was sent to Austria while serving in the 250th Field Artillery during World War II, he lost his wallet while taking shelter in a farmhouse. He never expected to see it again, but Ramos, now 91, recently received an unexpected letter over breakfast in his Fresno, California, home.
Dr. Josef Ruckhofer found the wallet while cleaning out the farmhouse, which had belonged to his grandfather, ABC News reported. Ruckhofer sent Ramos a letter about the long-lost wallet and Eligio’s son, Rosando Ramos, coordinated its safe return.
According to Veterans Affairs Public Affairs Specialist Carmichael Yepez, Ramos was in the farmhouse because Ruckhofer’s grandfather offered Ramos and his colleagues a place to stay as they went village to village rescuing prisoners.
“I was looking for the whole U.S., and I found one with the birth year there in California,” Ruckhofer told AZ Family via Skype, “and I thought the name was right, and the birth year is right, so if he’s still alive, I will try my luck and send him a letter.”
The wallet made a 6,000-mile journey back to the U.S. and Ramos said he’s grateful. Dozens of family photos were still intact, hidden in the wallet’s hardened leather folds. “It's been through a lot, so we're going to frame everything that was inside — all the pictures, all the military paperwork he had in there. Everything will be on exhibit at our house,” Rosando told AZ Family.