Treasure hunter returns airman's bracelet to family after 17 years

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Treasure hunter returns airman's bracelet to family after 17 years

Post by Trooper on Sun 11 Feb 2018, 8:35 am

Kiera Lyons, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, February 10, 2018

Rod Edwardson was treasure hunting on the grounds of Strathcona High School in 2001 when he unearthed a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) ID tag.

The tag belonged to Sgt. Airgunner Leonard Switzer, who was lost in action during the Second World War.

Edwardson said he made multiple phone calls to Switzers in the area, contacted Veterans Affairs and posted on various forums to no avail.

“If it were my family member, that’s what I’d want, that’s what I’d like,” Edwardson said. “There was a lot of information as far as who Leonard was and what happened to him, but I was not able to find him as easily.”

After moving to Didsbury, a local newspaper, Sundre Round Up, wrote an article about the missing silver bracelet as well.

Seventeen years passed and Edwardson was still unable to make contact with any surviving relatives, but he kept the bracelet safe in hopes that one day he would.

“I certainly didn’t think it would take 17 years,” he said, “I was starting to lose hope.”

More than 600 km away, Cathy Parsonage was searching online for information about her late brother, who shared Switzer’s name, and came across a link to the Round Up article with a photo of the bracelet.

“My brother, Leonard, passed away last January, and I was doing some snooping and Googling,” she said. “It was really quite a shock, [three] years had passed since the article had been written, it was amazing that he kept it all those years.”

She said she immediately contacted Edwardson, who was eager to finally reunite the piece of family history to its proper owners.

“It was a good feeling to get that little piece of Leonard back to his family where it belongs,” said Edwardson. “I was so touched to see his memory lives quite vividly with that family.”

The article in 2015 came out shortly before Parsonage’s father had passed. She said she wishes he could have joined the reunion, but is grateful to Edwardson for taking such good care of the bracelet.

The pair met in a Didsbury coffee shop earlier this week.

Parsonage brought the scrapbook containing photos and information of Switzer to share with Edwardson.

“It was just wonderful, it was like I’d known him for way more than a month,” said Parsonage. “It was great and really nice to be able to share this information with him.”


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