When Kim Vaughan started her new job working at the Old Town Self Storage four months ago she didn’t realize how much detective work would come her way.
It all started when she opened the door of a unit that hadn’t been paid on for more than a year.
“I opened it up and there were bits and pieces of items from different people,” said Vaughan. “The last owner would put important pieces in that locker he thought people might come back for later.”
Her only clue to what is inside of the unit is a master list of names to go from but she doesn’t have a contact for the uniform.
When Vaughan opened a camping cooler two weeks ago while doing inventory, she discovered the military uniform in top condition.
There is a dress coat, pants and hat and a name tag with “Fowler” on the uniform.
She posted photos of the uniform on Facebook Marketplace and various word of mouths groups.
Dozens upon dozens of people have commented or sent Vaughan messages but she still has not reunited the uniform with its owner or the owner’s family which is her goal.
“It’s super important to me that this goes to the family,” Vaughan said.
A man from Mississippi contacted Vaughan claiming it might have belonged to his grandfather who moved to Florida.
“I thought I found them,” she said, but the military branch that the uniform is from didn’t match his grandfather’s.
“This uniform is Army,” Vaughan said, but added it confuses people because, “There are wings on it.”
Vaughan said she is leery of scammers trying to get their hands on the uniform to just sell it.
Because the uniform was kept in a watertight cooler, Vaughn said, “It’s in perfect shape.”
Vaughan had not reached out to local veteran groups as of Friday.
Mainstreet Daily News contacted local veteran organizations and learned from AMVETS Post 422 head trustee Donald Phillips that local VFW, American Legions and AMVETS organizations often help with requests for reuniting military memorabilia with families.
Phillips is close by at the Fanning Springs location and offered to send the uniform photos to their local historian.
“From what we can see this is a Korean era uniform, he was a Warrant Officer and was with the 14th Combat Aviation Battalion,” Phillips said.
Former paratrooper Bill Martin with the Fanning Springs AMVETS looked at the photos and determined from the esnsignia that Fowler was probably a helicopter pilot.
“He was flying a Bell H-13 MASH hospital helicopter type,” Martin said, and by the pin on the lapel and shoulder strap he also indicated the uniform was from the Korean War era.
Another contact for help with finding uniform owners in the area is Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5625 quartermaster Bruce McInnis. The post in Chiefland can be reached at 352-493-1159.
Anyone with information about the uniform can message Vaughan through Facebook or call her at 352-542-0616.