March 4 (UPI) — A Pennsylvania war memorabilia collector was able to find the family of a man whose letters from the Korean War ended up for sale at an auction.
Rodney Shupe, of Weatherly, said he bid on the collection of more than 100 letters from the Korean War in October 2020, and ended up winning them for only $ 3.
Shupe said he decided in late February to try to find the family of the author, Vincent Koenig, who had addressed the letters to his parents in Lehighton, Pa., while he was serving in Korea.
“This is history; this is something people live for. It shouldn’t be thrown away. It’s something that should be given back to whoever, because maybe the family doesn’t know that these exist.
“I thought I’ll buy them, and if I can get them, I’ll try to find the person and give them back,” Shupe told WNEP-TV.
Shupe said he discovered Koenig had died in 2004, but he ran into difficulty trying to track down family members. He said last week’s segment on WNEP quickly led to a major lead.
“Within 10 minutes, I got an email saying they were relatives, and I’m like, I saw the number, didn’t waste any time I called right away,” Shupe said.
Ricky Waibel, of Carbon County, said his family was amazed to discover the existence of their late relative’s letters.
“We couldn’t believe it because Vincent’s gone for how many years already. Who would have ever thought that there are letters floating around like this, you know? It’s just amazing,” Waibel said.
Waibel said his family is grateful to Shupe.
“It’s a piece of history for the Christman/Koenig family that it would have been lost. You know it just wouldn’t have been possible if he wouldn’t have found them and returned them. You know he’s a great fella, great guy for doing it,” Waibel said.