DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A military ID tag lost in Italy during WWII has made its way back to the United States, and it happened with the help of a man right in the Miami Valley. 

A local metal detectorist and treasure hunter, Alan Price is invested in preserving pieces of the past.

“There is a group of us that try to return things and take care of history,” said Price.

Recently, Price was part of the collaborative effort to return a veteran’s ID tag.

Donald H. Schuler fought in World War II. He came back safely but lost his dog tag in an airfield in Italy. The airfield is now a farm, and in the last year, a family dug up Schuler’s lost tag.

“In this case, a gentleman from Italy, Matteo, had posted a picture of the tag,” said Price.

Matteo posted the picture on TreasureNet and started working with the Salerno 1943 Association. The post caught the attention of Price and several others who went to work, researching and trying to track down Schuler or his family, eventually tracing it to Wisconsin.

“I contacted Don’s VFW. I contacted his church, the club where he played golf. I was just hoping someone knew something current about the family,” said Price.

Price hit a roadblock when he discovered both Schuler and his wife had died; but Schuler’s obituary listed his children, so Price went on another mission attempting to contact his sons, his daughter, and grandchildren.

“I mailed her a nice letter with a picture of the dog tag saying this isn’t a scam, we’re really just trying to reach out to you guys and return this tag,” said Price.

She responded to Price, and so did one of Schuler’s sons, Paul, who became Price’s main point of contact.

With some coordination among Price, Matteo, and the family who found the tag, it was returned to the Schulers who moved to Florida. 

“I shared with you the photograph of Don’s son, Mike, holding the tag as well as a 15th Air Force patch,” said Price.

Grateful to the family in Italy who made the discovery, the Schulers sent a thank you basket.

For Price, the reward is being part of the effort.

“I’m just really beside myself. I’m just happy to be part of the collaborative effort — even though I’m about ready to cry again. I don’t know. It’s just a happy ending and sometimes we need that,” said Price with a smile.