In October 2017, Jerod Gunsberg of Los Angeles, formerly of Detroit, received a phone call from Hebrew Memorial Chapel in Oak Park, where his grandfather Richard Gunsberg’s funeral had been held on Jan. 4, 1999. Hebrew Memorial told Jerod a man named Ed, who lives in a small town in western Pennsylvania, was looking for him.
Jerod called Ed, who told him he and his 10-year-old grandson were on vacation at a beach in North Carolina. They were treasure hunting with a metal detector. When the detector got a hit, they started digging. They found a tarnished silver ID bracelet. The name on the bracelet was Richard Gunsberg, Jerod’s grandfather. Along with his name, the bracelet was inscribed with Richard’s serial number, the year 1943 and an Army Air Corp wings logo.
Richard received the bracelet as a gift from his parents while he was in Army Air Corp flight training. Due to an emergency surgery, Richard never became a Transport Flight pilot, which turned out to be a blessing. His entire flight class was killed in action. Instead, he was deployed to the South Pacific, fought in the Philippines, returned home after the war and raised six kids and 14 grandchildren.
The bracelet likely ended up on a beach in North Carolina while Richard was on leave. Maybe he went in the water, it fell off and later washed up on shore. Who knows?
When Ed and his grandson found the bracelet, the 10-year old insisted on finding its owner. He trolled the internet, learning everything he could about Richard Gunsberg. The investigation led him to Detroit, where Ed and his grandson learned about the Gunsberg meat-packing business and deli, and then to Hebrew Memorial funeral records.
The bracelet was sent by Ed to Jerod, who realized that the family had a photo with his grandfather in uniform, which showed him wearing the lost bracelet. The family was familiar with the photo, but never paid much attention to the bracelet he was wearing. Family members couldn’t believe it — the same bracelet. What were the chances of this?
According to one of Richard’s sons, Larry Gunsberg of Northville, “It was a deeply emotional experience for the family, like my dad reaching out to us through the years.”
Jerod, in his Facebook post, said this: “Social media can be a tool for good. Through it all, as a country, we are all connected. We are indeed all in this together. Thank you to our veterans.”
Jerod Gunsberg of Los Angeles and his uncle Larry Gunsberg of Northville submitted this account.