The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, or D.E.P., is trying to find the owner of a World War II memorial that washed up on the Jersey Shore earlier this summer during their annual "Barnegat Bay Blitz" cleanup.
"We normally just find trash and debris," said David Glass, Deputy Commisioner of the D.E.P. "We felt that it's the right thing to do to get this back to the family members."
The memorial consists of an American flag, PVC pole and a laminated tribute sign to two World War II veterans: Charles Novara and Jay Waltman. The items, depicting a medal presentation, likely washed up on the island, and its origins are unknown.
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"This is an area that's a little bit transient," said Bob Considine, Press Director for the D.E.P. "It could be somebody nearby. It could be somebody who is here for the summer."
So far, they've been unsuccessful in finding the rightful owners, but they knew the memorial photo and American flag needed to be saved. Officials have learned Novara was buried in New York, but have no other clues.
“We’ve been trying to find the family that planted (the flag) or the owners of the flag with no luck," added Glass. "We’re hoping that someone will see the story, recognize the flag, recognize the photo, and reach out to us to we can return it to its proper owners."
Due to the flag's relatively unweathered condition, the D.E.P. believes it was planted recently, perhaps in the last year. It sits folded for now, ready for a reunion.