Greenwood man finds veteran’s dog tags, returns them

Dog tags of Jason Baker. (Provided Photo/Jason Baker)

GREENWOOD, Ind (WISH) — One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or at least that’s how the saying goes.

But in this story, one man’s trash was just his own mistake. A veteran was reunited with his dog tags thanks to the work of a good Samaritan. The veteran had held onto the dog tags for more than four decades before accidentally getting rid of them.

Finding a good deal is what Jason Baker of Greenwood does. Sports memorabilia is his specialty. In his collection, Baker has a jersey that he bought for $10, and he estimated it’s worth up to $800. Part of finding the deals means being a regular at Goodwill stores. Baker prefers the outlet store in Greenwood. On Wednesday, he found something there that you can’t put a price on.

I “was scrounging through the stuff that was there. I happened to look into a suitcase. Inside it was the strap to the suitcase and under that was a guy’s dog tags. I thought, he’d probably want those back,” Baker said.

So, Baker bought the tags for 10 cents and wasted no time. He went home and started searching for the man online. Baker tracked down the veteran’s relatives and, within 24 hours, he had the tags’ owner, Roger Kelty, on the phone.

“He was in the process of moving, and I had a Salvation Army pile, a Goodwill pile and ‘moving into the other house’ pile. I must’ve put some of my stuff to keep in the giveaway pile,” Kelty said.

At stake was something Kelty had carried with him from the beginning. Kelty served in the Army, Army Reserve and Air National Guard. Throughout his career, he was stationed in Kuwait and Baghdad among many other places.

“That’s my original dog tags. I think I’ve had them since 1974,” Kelty said. “To the gentleman that found them for me and returned them, he’s a very honest gentleman.”

Kelty also took to Facebook to record a video, “Thank you for going out of your way and getting these back to me. I really appreciate it.”

Baker, just wanted to spread a little positivity,  “It was a good story, and I felt it was something that could be shared.”

Kelty lives in Charleston, Indiana, which is about 90 miles south of Greenwood, and so Baker mailed the dog tags back to Kelty.