FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — When Lloyd Sumpter, a local real estate developer, began renovating a building in the Historic District at Chaffee Crossing he had no idea what he would find after ripping up the floors and tearing down walls, dozens of beer cans.
His biggest find was uncovered behind a wall. Hidden away for decades were three dog tags.
After Sumpter found the dog tags he set out on a mission to find their owners. Luckily he found one of the veterans hundreds of miles away in Idaho.
He did a public information search and found a relative of Korean War veteran Ollie Shields.
Sumpter shipped the dog tags to Shields who was surprised to see the original dog tags that he had while stationed at Fort Chaffee from 1953- 1954.
Shields says when he saw the tags he thought of his time training as a machine gun specialist.
"It's a part of their identity and my dad, my brother, and I are all veterans so out of respect for the soldiers I wanted to try to find if I could return the dog tags to them," said Sumpter.
Shields admits to hiding the beer cans behind the walls with a fond smile.
His son, Raymond Shields, says things from his father's time in the military were lost and the dog tags are now the only piece left from that period.
"I actually stopped and started bawling. It brings tears to my eyes right now just knowing that somebody found my dad`s tags and was willing to send them back to us," said Raymond.
Raymond plans to wear the dog tags to honor his father.
The building will be home to the second location of Primetime Barbershop and is expected to be completed sometime in June.
Sumpter still hopes to find the owners of the other two dog tags.