WWII Veteran reunited with lost items

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 10:06 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 10:21 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - A Local Veteran, who was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, was reunited with some personal items that were lost during the liberation of Czechoslovakia.

After 76 years, Joe Esquibel was reunited with some precious lost items that were stolen nearby Prague in the Spring of 1945. The items include a silver engraved bracelet, a service ribbon with a bronze star, a U.S. Army lapel pin, and a Swiss coin. Which were in his stolen duffel bag.

76 years later a Czech reporter named Petr Svihove was using a metal detector in the woods around Prague when he came across these items. He saw the engraving on the bracelet with Joe’s name and the name of his wife on the back and knew it was special.

“On the bracelet here has my father’s name engraved on it and he was determined to receive these items back to the rightful World War II Veteran,” said Joe’s daughter Jolene Esquibel-Archuleta.

The reporter then posted photos of the items with Joe’s engraved name on a Czech Facebook page hoping to find the owner. Grand Junction resident Alena Busovska saw the post and was able to track Joe’s family down and get the process moving to return the items.

“I was more surprised really more than anything else,” said Joe Esquibel.

Jolene was able to reunite her father with the items this October. She said she didn’t believe Alena at first, thinking it was too good to be true and must be a scam.

“My dad was very surprised and happy to have his items, but he stared into them just looking at them because they were lost for 76 years,” said Jolene. “And it meant a lot to him to have it back. This is a part of my dad’s history, World War II, greatest generation. And on the back of the bracelet he has my mom’s name that he engraved himself. We come from a very faithful family and I think he wanted to have her there and it means everything to have these back for him.”

Jolene believes that through the grace of God and help from her mother who passed away two years ago, made this happen. Along with the Czech reporter Petr and help from Alena here in Grand Junction.

Alena, who saw the Facebook post didn’t want to talk on camera but says if it wasn’t for social media, these items most likely never would have been returned to Joe.

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