Lost Military Scrapbook Will Return Home

By Ari Mason
|  Wednesday, Mar 5, 2014  |  Updated 11:03 AM EDT
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Lost Military Scrapbook Will Return Home

NBCConnecticut.com

Col. James E. Mills (left) and Lt. Col. Clarence "Jack" Richards (center) are pictured in a scrapbook gifted to Sgt. Mathew Richards when he finished basic training with the Marine Corps.

There’s a happy ending to the story of a scrapbook found on the side of the highway – the album, which documents the military careers of two Marines, is going home.

Monday, Department of Transportation worker Jesus Morales found the book near Interstate 91 northbound in Cromwell and asked for help in finding its owner. On Tuesday, Sgt. Mathew Richards  claimed it.

Richards is related to those Marines – he’s the grandson of Lt. Col. Clarence “Jack” Richards, who served during the Vietnam era, and the great-grandson of Col. James E. Mills, a decorated commander in South Korea.

Richards kept the military tradition alive. His grandmother, Laurie, made him the book when he completed basic training, according to Richards’ aunt, Dianna Lancione.

It fell out of his truck while he was moving from California to Maine over the weekend. Richards said he knew something had spilled but wasn’t sure what it was or where it ended up.

“I ran back a ways, about half a mile, with a flashlight, but there was nothing to be found,” Richards  explained. “I was very upset to find out that it was lost, of all things.”

He finished an eight-year tour of duty March 15 and went to Maine to be with his fiancée. Richards was visiting family in Maryland and passed through Connecticut on the way up.

He said he’s grateful to Morales and would love the chance to meet.

“That’s amazing. I can’t thank him enough,” Richards said. “It would be wonderful if I could meet the guy and tell him thank you.”

The two men plan to figure out if they can connect in person to hand off the book.

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