Lawrence Frenning's helmet was found at a battlefield for Operation Market Garden in Holland. Pictured is the helmet liner (right) and its exterior shell. Photo Courtesy: Felix DeKlein
WYOMING, Minn. (KMSP) - A special discovery reunited a Wyoming, Minnesota, woman with her father's World War II helmet.
The name carefully written in white paint inside a helmet liner led to a reunion decades in the making.
“It's a piece of my dad, so it means a lot,” said Lynnell Frenning-Wallace.
Frenning-Wallace's father, Lawrence, served in the 82nd Airborne during World War II.
He survived the war, but died of cancer in the 1970s.
“We didn't learn much then, so I've been trying to retrace his footsteps now,” she said.
She learned he fought in six campaigns, including Operation Market Garden in Holland. That's where, 70 years later, the Frenning name would resurface.
“This lady from Holland contacted me through Facebook messenger and said her father was looking with a metal detector in the area of Market Garden in Holland and he found my dad's helmet,” she said.
Three years ago, Felix DeKlein unearthed the helmet from an old foxhole and worked to reunite it with its soldier. DeKlein has found dozens of war relics at the former battlefield and works to return items to soldiers as a thank-you to those who fought to free his country from the Nazis.
“I'm just thrilled to get it,” she said. “I said I would pay the postage on it, and he said 'absolutely not,' he will send it free of charge.”
Laid out alongside her father's medals, its journey home is now complete.
“I just want to thank Felix and his daughter for reaching out to me, and it means the world to me to get a piece of my dad and keep his memory alive,” she said.
Frenning-Wallace plans to build a shadow box for the helmet, so she can put it on display with his medals.