Though Jim Schweickert never learned the name of the soldier who trusted him with his watch in Vietnam, he never gave up trying to return it.
Schweickert was serving as a sergeant in Vietnam in 1967 when Frank Cook, a soldier he had only met once, asked him to safeguard his family keepsake before venturing into the jungle, the Times Union reports. Hours passed, a firefight broke out, and the young man was presumed dead.
Despite the grim chances, Schweickert, 67, was determined to find a way to give back the gold Lord Egin timepiece to a surviving family member, according to Walnut Patch.
"No soldier left behind," the Walnut, Calif., resident told the news outlet. "That's our motto. That's what we're all about. I needed to find who this belonged to and get it back to them."
As determined as Schweickert was, he had few clues to work with. The names engraved on the back of the watch read, “Frank C.,” and “Frank A. Harris,” Cook’s uncle who had given him the prized possession.
Through the years, Schweickert contacted the VA and scoured phone books to no avail, according to the Times Union.
Schweickert finally got his key clue when his son googled “Frank A. Harris” and came across a 1962 obituary, listing Frank Cook as one of the survivors.
The ever-persistent do-gooder located Cook, who now lives in Albany. He reached out and eventually drove 2,800 miles to meet the man who was never certain what had become of his family keepsake.
"They didn't have any kids," Cook told Walnut Patch of the uncle who had given him the watch. "It means so much to me what Jim's doing. I trusted him and he never forgot.”