KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -- A priceless piece of a man’s service in World War II has been reunited with his family years after it went missing.

His son says the documents went missing with others at least five years ago. When he got the call saying they’d been found, he was stunned.

“My first thought was, ‘Is this really happening?’” said Carl Wolfe, who lives in Western Wyandotte County.

On Saturday, Kansas City, Missouri police got a call about a possible break-in at a vacant motel in their city. Inside the motel, they found a stash of stolen goods, including something whose value is not in money but in memories.

Police posted photos of the documents on Twitter Saturday, asking for help locating family. Wolfe got the papers from police on Monday.

“He was just the finest man I ever knew,” Wolfe said of his dad, who was also named Carl Wolfe.

He said his dad talked about his military service often, particularly about how important many in his generation felt it was to enlist.

“And how they all wanted to do the honorable thing for their country,” Wolfe added.

“He lived on a farm in Western Wyandotte County and had never actually been more than 10-15 miles away from the farm,” Wolfe recounted. “He had five brothers. One of them was required to stay home and work on the farm. They didn’t have a fight over who got to stay. They had a fight over who had to stay.”

His dad was just 20 years old when he enlisted in 1941. He served in Europe. He was discharged in 1945 and promptly married his “Strawberry Hill sweetheart,” the girl he fell for in the central KCK neighborhood.

The documents police found were promotion papers. One shows a promotion from Corporal to Sergeant in March of 1942. The other shows him being promoted to Technical Sergeant just two months later.

“It’s part of the story of my dad’s life. It’s part of the story of who he was: honorable, kind, conscientious. It’s all little parts of who he was that I’m so proud of,” Wolfe said when asked what the documents mean to him.

His dad was a plant manager for Ford Ideal Laundry, working 60-hour weeks for 35 years until the day he died of a heart attack at the age of 61. The younger Carl Wolfe’s daughters weren’t yet born. He’ll soon be making copies to tell them more about the grandpa they never met, a man described sweetly in a letter from one of his commanders after his death. Wolfe has read the letter to each of his daughters and said it brings tears to his eyes almost every time.

“In my mind’s eye I could see him as he was: boyish face, sunny blonde hair with a disposition to match,” the commander wrote.

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