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Shadow Box Returned to Family

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jonathan Russell
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing
A lost shadow box of a former member of the 117th Air Refueling Wing was returned to his family here yesterday.

Tech. Sgt. Richard E. Thomason joined the 117 ARW in 1948 as a firefighter. He received the shadow box when he retired in 1972. A shadow box is a glass front box that encompasses the career of a servicemember and is presented to them when they retire.

Kerry Blow of Jemison, Ala. purchased an antique chest to store quilts in two years ago. She discovered a false floor and found the shadow box in it after getting it home. She tried for two years to locate the family, but failed to do so. One of her friends suggested that she contact the 117 ARW. Blow contacted Master Sgt. Sam Dennis of the 117 ARW. Dennis contacted the Alabama National Guard Headquarters and verified that Tech Sgt. Richard E. Thomason named on the shadow box was a former member of the 117 ARW.

The Thomason family said that the shadow box was misplaced in between moving. They were thrilled to know that the shadow box was found. "It was unbelievable. I was glad that someone had the respect and honor to return the shadow box," said Richard Thomason Jr.

Thomason passed away in 1999. His wife and daughter live in Jacksonville, Fla. Blow presented the shadow box in a ceremony here on base yesterday afternoon to Thomason's son, Richard, and granddaughter, Raven, who live in the Birmingham area. The Thomason's expressed how grateful they were to Blow for her role in getting the shadow box back to them.