A Fourth of July kayaking trip changed the lives of two families when a boy found a dog tag that belonged to a man who died 46 years ago.
The dog tag belonged to Steven Rhonemus, a Marine veteran who died in a motorcycle crash at the age of 24 in 1974. Today, the dog tag is with Rhonemus’s daughter, whom he never met because she was born months after his death.
Kolton Conrad, 12, was on a trip on Ohio’s Hocking River with his father and brother when they stopped to pick up trash from a sandbar. Kolton had recently started watching videos about finding lost treasures and kept an eye out for anything of value when he spotted the dog tag glimmering under the water.
In a CNN report, Kolton said that he is looking forward to joining the military when he is old enough, he also has been excited about the armed forces ever since his aunt enlisted about a decade ago. When Kolton realized what he found, he wanted to return the dog tag to the owner, however, the Conrads only had one clue, the last name Rhonemus.
Kolton’s mother, Ashley Conrad, took a photo of it and said that she ‘put it out on Facebook,’ not knowing if they would ever find the family or if they would ever know anything.
After a few hours, Kolton’s former bus driver Crystal Potts replied, saying that she recognized the name and that she is a family friend. After making some calls, they realized that it had belonged to Steven Rhonemus. They connected Ashley with Rhonemus’s sister Kimberly Greenlee.
Ashley Conrad suggested they meet at Rising Park in Lancaster because it is a spot where Kolton loves to do fishing. Greenlee was initially shocked because it was also one of Rhonemus’s favorite places to ride motorcycles.
When Greenlee met the Conrads, emotions ran high. Kolton admitted to being nervous, and his mother tried to calm his nerves by reminding him, “you did a wonderful thing. You gave a piece back to them that they lost their brother.”
“I just threw my arms around him and wanted to cry. I was just amazed that little boy knew the deep meaning of those tags and knew what it would mean to our family. I just hugged and hugged him,” Greenlee said.