Personal memorabilia returned to brother of fallen Vietnam soldier

The family of a fallen serviceman in Oklahoma received memorabilia that belong to their loved one Friday.

Donald Rankins was 23 years old in 1968 when he was killed in action in Vietnam. A man in Independence, Kansas, recently found numerous personal items related to Rankins and contacted FOX23’s news partners at KRMG to give them back to his family.

Bradley Hall said the items he found included a Purple Heart certificate, the flag from a coffin, personal pictures and a letter notifying family members of Rankins’ death.

“I knew immediately what it was because I’m military. I knew it had to go back to the family some way or another,” Hall said.

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Hall, with the help of KRMG, Green Country attorney Steve Money and a Wagoner County deputy, tracked down Rankins’ brother.

“It’s the best feeling you could have. It’s absolutely worth,” Hall said of the effort it took to find Robert Rankins.

Rankins told FOX23 he was surprised to hear from Hall.

“We didn’t even know anything about it, so we’re glad he made the effort,” Rankins said.

He took some time to look over the items and reminisce about his brother.

“I’m still trying to take it all in myself,” Rankins said.

Money said getting involved with tracking Rankins down was a personal decision because his brother-in-law was killed in Vietnam.

“The finger of God wrote this story. That many things could not fall into place like they did” by coincidence, Money said.