When Pat Nesbitt was five years old and undergoing polio treatment, his uncle gave him a World War II jacket that was left behind at a Tacoma, Washington, bar in the early 1950s.
According to KATU, no one returned to the bar to claim the jacket, so the uncle grabbed it and took it home to his nephew, Nesbitt. The inside of the jacket had the name “First Lt. Miles F. Blum” stenciled on it. Blum was a bomber pilot during World War II and flew at least 40 missions during the war, indicated by the 40 bombs stamped to the outside of the jacket.
Nesbitt grew up in Idaho, where snow and cold days were common during the winter, so he put the jacket to good use.
“When my uncle gave me the jacket, from 10 years old to 18, I put on the jacket because it gave me superpowers,” Nesbitt said. “If he could do 40 missions in that jacket, I could sled down the cliff, and I did. Most people could come back after 25, but he didn’t. This guy was a superhero, and this is a jacket a superhero would wear.”
Nesbitt kept the jacket for more than 60 years before he began thinking of who he would pass it on to. “I oiled it, replaced the cuffs and the zipper. My biggest goal was to find somebody who would appreciate it as much as I did and eventually give it back to the family,” he commented.
In February, Nesbitt decided to start looking for one of Blum’s family members to give the jacket to. He asked his friend Jerry Ferguson to help him find a family member. Within 45 minutes of looking on Ancestry.com, Ferguson had found Blum’s daughter and only living relative, Teri Sargent, who lives in Bella Vista, Arkansas, KATU reported.
Sargent never even knew about the jacket and was shocked to learn that Nesbitt had something that belonged to her father. “He flew B24 bombers in that jacket,” Sargent stated. “He flew 40 missions in that jacket. He was all over Europe, France, and Germany.”
Blum died in a car accident when Sargent was just 14 years old. “My dad and I were joined at the hip. When he coached the church softball team, I was the bat girl. When he went to Dodger games, I went with him. We were very much alike, and I loved my dad a lot,” she said.
The jacket arrived at Sargent’s home on March 1. “We have had sleet and snow up here in the Ozarks. I opened the door, and the sun was shining, and the box was on the front doorstep,” she said.
She was so overcome with emotions that she didn’t even open the package the jacket came in until a few days later. During that time, Sargent said she reflected on the life of her father and how much he influenced her as a child. “He was a great father. That is how I knew him, as my dad just mowing the lawn, coaching teams, a Boy Scout leader. But I have gone back through now and seen him as a hero. I learned a whole other side of him. I was proud of him as a kid. But I see where he has been. This whole thing made me look at him in a different light and makes me love him even more,” she said.
Sargent was also thankful for Nesbitt’s kindness in finding her to give her the jacket. “I now realize it gave my dad strength through the war and it gave Pat strength through his life. I am so grateful they were able to contact me and get this back into my life,” she said.
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