Family reunited with long-lost WWI jacket found in Huntington

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HUNTINGTON -

A World War I jacket found in Huntington 40 years ago finally found its way home today.

Army veteran John Chalker safe-guarded the World War I uniform for 40 years after finding it in a vacant home in 1977. Chalker discovered the jacket of Michael Connell in a trunk in the attic of what was once the Connell family's home.

Chalker recently contacted a historian who put him into contact with Michael Connell’s son, John. The exchange was made at Huntington's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building. 

“I didn't know it would take 40 years,” says Chalker. “I'm cleansing my soul right now.”

John Connell says his father’s wartime service as a musician was a proud part of the family’s legacy.

“I never knew [the jacket] existed or that it was being saved someplace, so it's thrilling,” said Connell, who himself served in the Navy.

The family has also saved letters from Michael Connell and his cornet.

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