CEDAR GROVE, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — Some people may see them as pieces of history, but for the loved ones of the now deceased G.I. who wrote them, dozens of letters and keepsakes from World War II are precious memories.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, the long lost letters finally made their way home into the hands of Fred Ferrone Jr. They were written by Ferrone’s father during his service in Europe.

The letters were originally written to Fred Sr.’s wife Josephine and his mother, Ella. Ferrone Jr. read them for the first time thanks to a perfect stranger who held onto them for three decades.

“In the early 80s, there was a storage unit. People defaulted on it. They lifted it up, ‘Who wants to bid?’ We won and the box was in the storage unit,” Lauretta Button said.

Button moved six times but never lost sight of the letters.

“If somebody came by with a box of letters and treasures that my dad sent home I would say this is awesome,” Button said.

Button tried to track down the Ferrone family but wasn’t having any luck until she saw an obituary in the paper for Josephine. Fred Jr. was listed as her son so Button gave him a call.

“I said ‘that’s my father,’ and she said my grandmother’s name and my mother’s name,” Ferrone said.

Ferrone’s father passed away at the age of 46. As a teenager, Ferrone always wondered what kind of war stories or even love stories his father would have shared with him. Now, he has a piece of the past back along with a chance to learn more about his father.

Ferrone never received the Purple Heart, although his family said that he was injured in a major blast and was the only soldier to survive the explosion, he succumbed to his injuries many years later. His records are believed to have been destroyed in a fire with millions of other documents.

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