When Vietnam veteran Leon Hembree had his camera stolen in 1967 he didn’t expect to ever see it again, but thanks to an etched label the beloved item has finally found a way back to its owner. The Canon 8mm cine camera was recently acquired by Steven Bridges for US$6 at an auction but, after a thorough inspection, he found Hembree’s name along with a date and location in Saigon.
Feeling the item needed to be returned, Bridges sought out the local American Legion in Tecumseh, Oklahoma for help in finding the camera’s original owner. With the help of social media, it only took two days to track down Hembree who just so happened to be living close by.
Hembree, an avid camera enthusiast during the war, would acquire many cheap items during his time serving in Vietnam with the Army 124th Transportation Co. He explained that the Canon 8mm cine camera in question was pickpocketed from his bag not too long after he bought it. “It’s good to know that there are wonderful people in this world that are willing to do for others,” he said.
Not only did Hembree see his camera returned there was also a mysterious roll of film left inside. The veteran is hoping to salvage the photos first before passing the family trinket to his grandchildren.
The 50 year reunion is reminiscent of a story we previously covered, where a man had his family photo album returned after it was discovered inside a chair at a London flea market; luckily for him it only took 20 years!. digitalrev.com