Collector to reunite lost dog tag with family of WWII veteran from New Haven

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After News 12 Connecticut aired his story, a New Milford man will return a World War II artifact to where it belongs: with relatives of the original owner.

Brian McCallion collects all sorts of military artifacts. One might say the hobby is in his blood.

"My father was a big collector," he says.

As McCallion grew up, he too caught the bug, amassing more than 50 pieces of military memorabilia.

"Equipment, helmets, vehicles, and some uniforms from the 1900s till now, mostly focusing on the second World War and the Vietnam War."

But it's McCallion's most recent addition to his collection that led him to contact News 12 Connecticut. Last month, the 25-year-old was at Elephant's Trunk Flea Market sifting through a bin of medals when he found a dog tag.

"I know it's from the second World War, and it's got a name on it and an address for New Haven," says McCallion.

The name and address? Ralph Braccidiferro of 14 Elliott St.

"I was like, 'What the heck,'" McCallion says. "So I bought it for $5 and with the intention of maybe I'll find someone."

He spent the next few weeks researching Braccidiferro and learned the veteran had passed away, but still had relatives in Connecticut, including a son in West Hartford.

Thanks to our story, we’ve connected McCallion with Braccidiferro's family and they plan to meet this weekend.

It's the first time McCallion has attempted this type of reunion, but his efforts aren't altogether surprising.

"My father actually did this in the ‘90s," he said. "He looked up in a book and found a vet's address and just sent him something. He has no idea if he got it, but at least he tried."

Like father, like son - trying to bring a piece of history back to where it belongs.

"It's a connection to the past."

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