Local man hopes to reunite military memento with rightful owner

FOX 29 is working to get results tonight by trying to reunite a local family with an important tribute received by a member of that family.

It's a common way of saying thank you to a veteran upon his or her death: an American flag, removed from atop the casket, folded into a triangle and often-displayed at the home of a surviving relative in a wooden case. Our challenge was matching the flag to the family.

The email came to us from Dave Nunez of Vineland, New Jersey. He needed our help getting an American flag back to its rightful owner.

FOX 29 met with Dave in Vineland and he described buying the memento from a stranger outside a corner grocery store about a month ago.

"Some guy came up to me and said, 'Dude, you wanna buy a flag, man? I'll give you a good price," Dave told FOX 29.

Twenty bucks. Dave says he would spend the money so he could try and get the flag to the right place.

"I just kinda found it disrespectful that somebody would basically sell somebody's life for 20-bucks," he said.

Dave had found a small brass nameplate stuffed in beneath the flag-- Florindo Pipitone. Born in 1922, died in November of 2002. Dave's research showed Pipitone was a South Jersey guy who served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.

"I just thought it was the right thing to do just to give it back to the family and see who it belongs to," Dave explained.

Dave's own efforts at reaching Pipitone's family through Facebook came up empty so he gave us the flag so we could try.

Pipitone's death notice showed he had surviving brothers and sisters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at the time of his passing. FOX 29's Bruce Gordon reached out to as many as I could. So far, without success.

FOX 29 also paid a visit to the gravesite listed on that death notice to look for clues: the good people at the Calvary cemetery in Cherry Hill helped Gordon locate the proper crypt. Florindo Pipitone is buried alongside his wife Josephine.

Dave Nunez is hoping we can make a connection, and get the flag back to Pipitone's family. It'll be well worth his $20 investment.

Remember Florindo also went by Larry died in 2002 He had two sons, Lawrence and Martin and two daughters, Joanne and Bernadette.

If you know how we can reach the Pipitone family, please message FOX 29's Bruce Gordon on his Facebook page, Bruce Gordon FOX29.