09/28/2012 12:03 pm ET Updated Sep 28, 2012

Tina Stanley, Arkansas Woman, Reunited With Father's Military Heirlooms (VIDEO)

A news channel helped reunite one woman with her father's lost military heirlooms on Tuesday.

When Tina Stanley's father died in 1977, her mother took all of Sergeant Jim Stanley's war medals, pins and photographs from his two tours in Vietnam and left to start a new life in Virginia, leaving 7-year-old Tina with no physical memories of her father.

She was sure she would never see her father's things again.

Thirty five years later, NewsChannel 3 stepped in, with the help of a local antiques shop.

Sergeant Stanley's dog tags and medals had ended up in an antiques store in Chesapeake, Virginia. Ryan Andrews, whose grandmother owned the shop, turned to investigators at NewsChannel 3 to help him find the Stanley family's relatives and return the heirlooms.

NewsChannel 3 correspondant Mike Mathers tracked down Tina Stanley to El Dorado, Ark. and was able to present her not only with the military heirlooms, but with stories of her father that she'd never heard before. Mathers had uncovered the stories in the search to find her.

It's incredible. It's overwhelming. It's a Godsend. It really is,” Tina Stanley told NewsChannel 3 when she was reunited with her father's photo. “It's a miracle. It is an absolute miracle. I am so grateful to have it back.”

Stanley is not alone -- there have been several instances of rare and priceless items being found in thrift stores.

In July, Cathy Tyree, a Virginia woman, was shopping at Goodwill when she came across a photograph of her deceased father that she had lost when her house was foreclosed.

And this month, a Virginia woman, unwittingly bought an original painting by Renoir valued between $75,000 and $100,000 for only $7 at a flea market.