Mark Cowan now has his father’s dog tags and ribbons back from his military days after 50 years missing when a student at Duncan High School found his uncle to return the items found in their house.

When moving from house to house, one of the things that a family never wants to happen is to lose valuable items.

Mark Cowan and his family had some of his father’s military items returned when a student from Duncan High School reached out to his uncle Robert Cowan earlier this week to return the items after almost 50 plus years of being unseen.

The uncle, who is a former coach at several Stephens County Schools including Duncan, said the student came to his classroom before school and mentioned that she had found the items while her family was renovating a closet in Mark’s childhood home.

“The way it happened, it was before school and a young lady -- I can’t even tell you her name because it wasn’t anyone who I had in class it was just someone at Duncan High School,” Robert said. “Someone told her that they thought that I taught at Duncan High School and those were mine. She came in and said ‘I think we found something that belongs to you.’ I was thinking I hadn’t lost anything.”

Robert said the student told him she lives in a house in Duncan and was pulling some shelves out of a closet and saw something fall out of the wall from behind the shelf.

“It was actually my brother’s, his name was Gary Cowan, it was his dog tags from when he was in the Vietnam War and there was a medal and a bunch of ribbons,” Robert said. “He was in the Navy and that had a bunch of ribbons that go on your uniforms in this pouch.”

Calling his nephew, Robert met up with Mark who lives in Duncan to return the items and when Mark first found out about the finding of his father’s military honors, he was very joyful.

“I was pretty, well, just overwhelmed with joy. It was something he looked for forever and so it is pretty interesting to be able to find it,” Mark said. “I will put it like this, my mom and dad got divorced when I was two and I was born in 1973 so it had been like 1975 since the last time we had seen them and that is the latest.”

With the items returned, Mark now has in possession several generations of his family’s military honors. He was also able to tell his sister who he said was very pleased to hear about finding their father’s stuff from his military days.

“That was actually the house I grew up in. My dad and mom bought it back in ‘72 I do believe so (I grew) up in that house and not knowing they were there,” Mark said. “They had evidently fell through a crack and got into the walls when those people were changing some things up at that house. It is great to have them back. It was a very emotional moment for me. We talked about it for a little bit and she was pretty happy about it. Of course, you know it means a lot to me because my entire family was in the military. I have got my papaw’s flag and my dad’s flag so to get stuff like that back means a whole lot to me and my sister.”

Mark is very appreciative of the student and their family and is forever in their gratitude for finding the items.

“I have to tell her thank you very, very much. It means the world to me and I will be forever grateful that she took them to my uncle,” Mark said.

Because Robert was so shocked to be handed the memorabilia, he forgot to ask the young lady for her name. Anyone knowing the identity of the person or if the person should read this, they are encouraged to contact The Duncan Banner at 580-255-5354 so our staff can put a name with this generous act.

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