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Soldier's pocketknife from WWII returned to family 73 years later

The knife with his name and hometown firmly displayed.

At his former high school, family and friends of all ages came out to see the reunion of Prentice W. Ball's WWII pocketknife with his family.

On March 18, 1945, Ball and the rest of the 117th Infantry Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division was placed on a secret list, and the 1st Battalion headed to an area near the Rhine River in Germany. Five days later, on March 23, the unit moved into another assembly area near Wallach, south of Alpen, Germany.

Ball, who was known to never lose things, had his pocketknife that had his name and hometown of Vinemont etched on it, fall out of his pocket and into a foxhole.

April 1, 2018, a man and his metal detector unearthed the pocketknife that had not seen the light of day in 73 years. The knife was turned over to the Footsteps Researchers who in 36 hours, made contact with Ball's family.

"I'm thankful they did get it back to us, and I'm thankful that this long after his death, we still get to acknowledge him because when you lose a parent, that ends," Ball's daughter Sheri Ball Mize said. "But, this is the closest thing to feeling something since then, and it is pretty sweet."

The family says they have used every word in how blessed they are to have the knife back. They are glad to have the knife back, and they said it will allow their family to learn more about the hardworking man who always made sure his family was well taken care of.

When asked what their father might say if he was still with us today, Mize replied:

"Put it up, and hide that rusty blade. But, he lost it and would probably say, I remember that knife."


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