KCTV5 helps Belton woman find soldier on P.O.W. bracelet - KCTV5

KCTV5 helps Belton woman find soldier on P.O.W. bracelet

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The bracelet a woman had in Belton, MO had the name of a P.O.W. on it. She called KCTV5 to try and find out what happened to the veteran. (KCTV) The bracelet a woman had in Belton, MO had the name of a P.O.W. on it. She called KCTV5 to try and find out what happened to the veteran. (KCTV)
BELTON, MO (KCTV) -

P.O.W. bracelets were popular in the 1970s during the Vietnam War. Each one had the name of a missing American soldier on it.

For more than 40 years, a Belton woman has been trying to find the man on her bracelet.

Major Thomas Collins III went missing on October 18, 1965.

That’s all the information this bracelet's owner had to go on when she called KCTV5 News.

Shain Bergan, an assignment editor at KCTV5, listened to her story over the phone.

“I thought, ‘There's got to be something we can do to help this woman,’” Bergan said.

Bergan is a super sleuth, so he did some digging. He checked databases and ran addresses.

For decades, the anonymous woman had wondered if Major Collins ever made it home and it turns out that…

“Well, yes I did get home,” Collins said.

Bergan found him living near Phoenix, Arizona. KCTV5’s sister station, KPHO, even visited the veteran’s house.

“I thank them for thinking about me when we were there,” Collins said. “We were considered lost.”

Collins was captured when the Vietcong shot down his plane over Thailand. He said he was forced to march for two weeks to a prison in Hanoi.

“I barely got out,” he said. “Injured my back and my ankle when I hit the ground because my parachute didn't fully open.”

He said he's lucky to have made it home.

He keeps an entire bucket of the P.O.W. bracelets that bear his name. He's received many over the years and is thankful to add more.

“I thank you for remembering all these years,” Collins said.

This is the kind of story that touches journalists, too.

“When you come across a story where you can actually help somebody and make it meaningful, it means an awful lot,” Bergan said.

KCTV5 plans to mail the Belton woman’s bracelet to Collins as soon as possible so he can add it to his collection.

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