Most people are accustomed to receiving gifts on their birthday, but a Pleasant City man recently celebrated his own 68th birthday by giving a gift — two actually — to a Cambridge resident he only knew a little about.
The gifts were a memory book from the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and a Vietnam Combat Certificate for the 1st Cavalry Division presented to Spec. James M. Blancett for service in the Republic of Vietnam from November 1968 to November 1969.
The items Jim Blancett hadn’t seen in 50 years were given to him by Dana “Dan” Brown and Howard Meyer, of Byesville, after they were found along with other items purchased by fellow Byesville resident Branden Savage.
“In this time of coronavirus, it is nice to have some good news,” said Brown, a veteran who served three years in Vietnam. “Howard asked me to help find this guy (Blancett) and after a couple hours, I had located him in Cambridge. I contacted him and he agreed to meet in Byesville.”
And as they say, the rest is history.
“It was kind of weird when he called,” recalled Blancett. “It has been more than 50 years since I left Vietnam, and I thought, what is it they have? I remember them after seeing them, but I couldn’t believe I was getting them back. I was tickled to get them.”
The story started when Savage purchased a box that contained numerous items including the book and combat certificate at an auction. He then contacted his Glass Avenue neighbor, Meyer, who told him he knew a guy that might be able to help find the owner of the book and certificate.
A former firefighter in Akron, Meyer didn’t know as many people locally as say a lifelong resident of Guernsey County. That’s when he contacted Brown, who was born and raised in the Buffalo area.
Brown was able to use social media to locate Blancett and contact him to schedule a meeting at the Circle K on Main Street in Byesville.
“If was awful nice of all of them,” said Blancett of the effort to return the items to him. “It’s a conversation piece for me now.”
Blancett was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division First Team while serving in Vietnam.
The certificate reads that Blancett is “deserving of the honors and respect afforded all members of The First Team whose courages deeds and sacrifices have presented the liberty of South Vietnam and advanced the cause of Freedom throughout the world.”
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