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West Point Jacket Found in Sandy Aftermath

I guess that we are so ‘accustomed’ to hurricanes here in South Louisiana that when another area gets hit by one, we all say “we feel for you guys”, because, well, we know what it feels like.Portions of my childhood home in Abbeville would flood during some of the storms that came through, but we were lucky that our home was never ‘destroyed’.

In the aftermath of many of the storms that have come through here, I can remember how reassuring the following day’s sunshine was for me: giving promise of “life goes on”, so-to-speak.

As families still try to clean up after “Superstorm” Sandy, one volunteer along the Jersey Shore found her own little ‘ray of sunshine’ in the form of a 1930’s-era West Point jacket.

West Point Mike East 2
West Point Graduate Mike East in his West Point uniform, similar to the one found on the Jersey Shore (Photo courtesy of Mike East)

According to a story on Yahoo! News, submitted by Michael Felberbaum with the Associated Press,  Donna Gugger, a pharmaceutical rep from Pennsylvania, was volunteering with the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club, cleaning up debris along the Jersey Shore, when she saw just a sliver of the jacket peeking up from the sand.

Sandy aftermath on the Jersey Shore
(Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

She pulled the jacket from the sand, and noticed inscriptions giving clue to its owner.  Gugger then contacted a friend who is a West Point graduate, and he contacted the West Point Association of Graduates (an organization that helped me track down a friend I had served in the Army with!).  The Association cleaned up the jacket and helped Gugger track down the widow of the original owner of the jacket, Brigadier General Chester deGavre, a WWII hero.

West Point Graduation
West Point graduation ceremony, circa 1980’s (photo courtesy of Mike East)

Gugger drove five hours to Virginia to personally deliver the jacket to General deGavre’s widow, Tita deGavre, who didn’t even know that the jacket existed.

We don’t have information about where the jacket has been for the past 80+ years, nor how it ended up on the Jersey Shore after the storm;  we DO have this: a recovered military jacket with a mysterious gap in its history; another heirloom to treasure for a grieving widow; a volunteer who gave of her time to make sure that the two were reunited; and a story that can help restore one’s faith in humanity.

The sun will shine again, tomorrow.

(Via Yahoo News)

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