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And Christmas Cheer Goes On

When I read this beautiful account on Sarah’s Stories, I knew I had found yet another reason to prolong Christmas on my blog. Read it and smile. (I believe the word Mexico here refers to a town in Missouri.)

MEXICO – A Mexico man is enjoying an early Christmas present that was very unexpected.

Ray Heilwagen’s mailbox may not look amazing but its contents were the other day

Ray is an 83-year-old WWII veteran with a story that spans from France to his front lawn.

“We went from November through July without any hot food at all,” said Ray.

During war, a wallet can be a soldier’s most prized possession, chock full of pictures and family memories. Like many other veterans Ray was carrying his wallet on the battlefields of northern France in 1944.

Shortly after D-day, a mortar shell hit him in the leg. The explosion was so powerful it blew him into a river. Ray survived the attack, but somewhere between the battlefield and the tent hospital, he lost his wallet.

Ray spent about a year recovering in hospitals, But when he got out he thought his wallet was gone for good. It wasn’t.

Last month, Ray got a phone call.

“Wanted to know if I’d ever served in France during WWII. I said yeah, and he said did you ever lose a billfold? I said yeah I sure did. It just kind of shocked me,” said Ray.

“I didn’t even know that he lost his wallet so he calls and says that this man that he doesn’t know calls and says he found his wallet from the service some 60 years later,” said Kayla Subrock Ray’s granddaughter.

“And then he went on to tell me that his father was a WWII veteran and he found the wallet but he didn’t know where I was to return it,” said Ray “So, he took it home with him and stuck it in a drawer some place where it’s been for 62 years.”

Decades after Ray lost it on the battlefield the wallet arrived at his house in mint condition. With his original social security card, all his money, and the memories still intact.

“This is a newspaper clipping that my parents sent to the Hannibal Courier Post,” said Ray.

The fact that he got his wallet back after 6 decades is amazing, but so too is the timing. As the Illinois man found it on Veteran’s Day.

“Finding it on that day is so ironic,” said Kayla “That he found his wallet from the service on Veteran’s Day.”

“I couldn’t hardly believe it,” said Ray

Ray earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his efforts in France, and now adds another prized possession from the war.

Ray always knew Veteran’s Day was special, but perhaps this reunion shows just how much. Steve Breitenstein of Illinois used the internet to locate Mr. Heilwagen in Mexico, something his father couldn’t do 60 years ago.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 84 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

5 replies on “And Christmas Cheer Goes On”

Hello, Carol and Linda. Thanks for coming by and commenting on this beautiful story. Indeed, in the midst of this troubled and negative world, there remains much joy, beauty and happiness.

Linda, I haven’t forgotten that I have been tagged. I’ll take care of that little business before the day is over.



Deeply touching story! I just shake my head and say, we really do live in a “beautiful world”! I would love for a newspaper to report only “good” things. It would be a “best seller”!


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