MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 28, 2013

Marks on Silver Certificate set off hunt for family

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Mike Blome is going above and beyond his duty to find an area family.

Blome, whose hobby is collecting old coins and currency, stumbled across a Silver Certificate at a recent coin show that has shown a connection with the Muskogee area.

“I saw the bill where a guy had written all around the edges, and I thought it’d be cool to try to find the guy’s family,” Blome said. “I know if someone had something that my dad wrote on, I’d love to have it.”

The certificate, which is a bit tattered and threadbare, features the name of Pfc. Donald J. Lee, his service number, US 54046510, and the words “Korea Nov. 1951.”

Blome said he called the VA Medical Center in Little Rock, Ark., and after finding some initial dead ends, discovered that Lee’s file was closed at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in 1991.

“It’s been three or four years since I got the certificate,” he said. “I kind of gave up on it for a while because I got stonewalled everywhere. I even called my congressman here, and they told me I’d have to go through the Treasury Department. That was kind of disappointing.”

Other markings on the bill include:

• Hq & Hq Btry

• VII Corps Artillery APO 264

Blome said he’s not interested in being compensated for the bill if the family steps forward to claim it.

“I think I paid $20 or $25 for it,” Blome said. “If the family thinks it’s worth something, they can make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project or something like that. I’d just love to get it to the family.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or tsloat@muskogeephoenix.com.

What to do

If you believe you may be a relative of Donald Lee’s, call Mike Blome at (501) 982-5843.