95-year-old WWII veteran Frank Grasberger has carried a letter with him for over a decade. The letter was written by a schoolgirl 12 years ago. And ever since he got it, he’s wanted to meet the person who put pen to paper. Finally, thanks to his nursing home staff, his dream came true.
“Dear WWII Veteran,” read the note. “If it wasn’t for you, we would never have freedom. I’m so happy you made sacrifices. Your friend, Dashuana Priest.” At the top, the then 3rd grader sketched an army helmet and an American flag.
Grabserg told CBS News that he’s never without the note. “Because it’s something that somebody thought of me that much.” The letter serves as a symbol that his time in service and war meant something to someone. And his wife Delores added that the letter gives him a sense of “faith, trust, and love.”
The veteran was determined to find the little girl and thank you for her words. But despite his best efforts, he never found her. After Grasberg moved into a nursing home, he continued to carry his letter with pride and told his friends and staff members that he still hoped to find her before it was too late. “Before I close my eyes, I have to find her,” he once told his wife.
So, his caregivers decided to conduct a search of their own. And they found her.
Veteran Frank Grasberger Meets the Now Soldier Who Wrote Him a Letter as a Child
In 2009, Priest penned the letter in class, and she told CBS that she vividly remembers writing it. “It was an honor to write the letter,” the now 21-year-old said. Soldiers always held a special place in her heart. In fact, she admired veterans so much that when she grew up, she joined the National Guard.
Once Priest heard how much he wanted to meet her, she decided to make a trip to see him in Strongsville, Ohio. So, in August she surprised him. “You can’t imagine the feeling I had when she stood next to me,” Grasberger said.
12 years ago, Frank Grasberger, a WWII veteran, received a letter from a 9 year old girl thanking him for his military service.— Travis Akers (@travisakers) August 30, 2021
An employee from Frank’s assisted living home found her and they met all these years later. pic.twitter.com/FfmnmL2ftw
Staffers caught the reunion on camera and writer and fellow veteran Travis Akers posted the emotional event on Twitter.
“12 years ago, Frank Grasberger, a WWII veteran, received a letter from a 9-year-old girl thanking him for his military service,” he wrote. “An employee from Frank’s assisted living home found her and they met all these years later.”
In the video, Priest walks into the room carrying roses and wearing her fatigues. Grasberg, stunned, looks up at her and says, “You’re not the girl, are you?” And his wife stands up to hug her, “We’ve been looking for you for 12 years!” she said through tears.
Grasberger later told CBS News that “there’s love there, deep down in the heart. She’s like my third daughter, she really is.”