Daughter thanks family who sent father's WWII Army duffle bag
A Riverhead woman who was given a priceless link to her fallen father's past traveled across the country to repay the kindness she received.
Eileen Sullivan Alber, 75, received a birthday gift like no other - her long lost father's 81-year-old Army duffel bag from his service during World War II.
Cpl. Joseph W. Sullivan was killed in action while serving in the Korean War on Nov. 20, 1950.
"I never met my Dad. I don't have a picture of me with him. I have nothing, no memory, nothing of his," she says. "And to get this duffle bag that he actually used in World War II... it's just a miracle."
Shortly after receiving the her father's duffle bag, she packed it and took it on a road trip. Alber's destination was Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her mission was to thank Roger and Alice Goodland in person for changing her life with the gift of her father's Army bag.
Roger Goodland bought the bag for 10 cents from an Army surplus store in Indiana back in 1946.
Using the power of Google, the Goodlands discovered Joseph W. Sullivan was a war hero. Their internet search also uncovered a plea from Alber, asking anyone with mementos from her father's service to contact her.
The couple's kindness lifted a Gold Star daughter's spirits and launched a new friendship. The Goodlands and Alber are planning more cross-country get-togethers.
Alber gave the Goodlands a gift basket, which included a 1946 uncirculated Roosevelt dime because Roger Goodland paid 10 cents for the bag and she wanted to pay him back.