In May, FOX23 aired a story about a Patriot Guard rider and veteran, Greg Martin, who collects military memorabilia from estate sales and during the broadcast some viewers recognized some of their military belongings in Martin’s collection.
Those viewers called FOX23 and we contacted Martin, who returned their items to them.
Sgt. Paul Sperry of the United States Army was one of those viewers.
“These are absolutely mine,” he said as he looked through Martin’s collection.
“They got my name in them. It shows the salt ring from my sweat!”
He had been missing some of his boxes of duffle bags and gear from the military. They were stolen from his garage or storage unit and he gave up trying to find them.
“That's my last name,” said Sgt. Sperry.
“That one is not mine. This one is! No doubt about that one! I still have the key to that at my house!”
“I was going to question him about that!” joked Martin, he wants to confirm the veterans are who they say to make sure everything is returned to the rightful owner.
“That was from the first tour when I was just a private first class,” said Sgt. Sperry. “That was "September of 2003.”
Sgt. Sperry served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and again in 2006. On June 10th, 2007 he almost did not come home.
“My FSO stepped on a large land mine ten feet away from me and blew up,” described Sgt. Sperry.
He now wears a wrist ban with the fallen soldier’s name engraved on it.
“I got blown back, messed up my shoulder, my back, my head, good internal injuries, brain injury,” said Sgt. Sperry.
Martin never intended to try to find who the items he collected belonged to because he thought it was all things people no longer wanted to keep. He actually purchased a large box with some of Sgt. Sperry’s things inside for just $7.00 at an estate sale in Wagoner. Whoever stole Sgt. Sperry’s boxes did not go too far because Sgt. Sperry lives in Coweta.
“It's the icing on the cake,” said Martin, as he talked about how great it feels to see his collection with who it really belongs to. “To have it returned to the guy who walked the miles in those boots and served out country and was ultimately blown up, it gives you goose bumps.”
Sgt. Sperry has a wife and four young children. He was happy to return home with his memories to share with his family.