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‘This means so much to us:’ Lost U.S. Coast Guard dog tag returned to late veteran’s family

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KENT, Wash. -- For more than a week, ‘Gary Widener’ was just a name on a piece of metal for a Kent woman who found a military dog tag in her yard and vowed to find the owner.

On Friday, Lindsay Young achieved her goal and was able to return the dog tag to the grateful family of the late Gary Widener.

“There is it is. Oh my goodness! I cannot believe ... thank you. This means so much to us!” Gary’s daughter, Jennifer Bergsma, said after meeting Lindsay Friday. "We can't replace (it) so this really means a lot to us.”

Gary Widener died of a heart attack last year. Jennifer and Gary's brother, Mark,  hadn’t realized the dog tag was missing until they heard about Lindsay's discovery  earlier this week on Q13 FOX News.

“I was contacted by a complete stranger via Facebook. 'Hey, I think these dog tags may belong to your late father,'” Jennifer said. “Sure enough it was my dad and at that point I was just overwhelmed with emotion.”

Gary led a troubled life and these dog tags are one of the only memories of a time he was proud of serving the country in the Coast Guard.

“That was 40 years ago so to still have them that meant a lot to him at the time of his death,” Jennifer said. “He would really want us to have this back in our hands, for sure. I'm just overwhelmed with emotion right now. I know my uncle is, too. Lindsay is just an amazing individual to make contact with you.”

The late Gary Widener when he was in the Coast Guard. His lost dog tag was returned to his family Aug. 7, 2015.

The late Gary Widener when he was in the Coast Guard. His lost dog tag was returned to his family Aug. 7, 2015.

Lindsay, too, was overwhelmed.

“I'm very happy that it has the right owners and we can put this to rest and that they have some closure from it,”  Lindsay added.

Jennifer says it isn’t clear how the dog tag got lost, but from now on it will be kept in a safe place.

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