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Search for owner of VFW hat found after tornado continues

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WHEATON (WQOW) -- It has almost been a year and a half since an EF3 tornado with winds up to 150 miles per hour passed through the Township of Wheaton, but the recovery effort continues.

Eugene Gutsch, a first responder with Wheaton Fire & Rescue, tells News 18 the department served as a central location for recovery after the tornado.

"Part of that recovery operation was residents finding numerous items in their yards, in their woods, personal belongings whether it was photographs, clothing, different articles that the tornado had picked up and moved throughout the area," he said.

Many of those items are gone forever, but one recently posted to the department's Facebook page is still waiting to be claimed.

"There were a few items that we feel were probably memorable items, that people if, we could find the owners, would certainly want back. Those few items are still retained, and one of the items of significance is the VFW hat that was recently posted," Gutsch said.

The hat with pins indicating service during the 1970s, and the number of a Hudson VFW post, has been with the department since the tornado hit.

"We've reached out to that post, and they can't really provide us any significant help," Gutsch said.

"It's unknown where it was found. Or, who actually found it. Through a process of elimination, we're thinking, it possibly came from a group of storage sheds that were very much decimated and destroyed. Their contents were literally lifted out of the buildings."

Returning the hat to its owner would be a proud moment for the department and the Township of Wheaton.

"Unfortunately [there are] many, many items, photographs, and things that have just never been identified and returned to their proper owner. This would be very significant if we could the family and or person or relative that this person hat may have belonged to."

If you would like to contact the department about the hat, you can call them at (715) 874-6597 or message their Facebook page:

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Stephanie Rodriguez

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