(NBC News) — A good luck coin has traveled through seven veterans, keeping them safe while on deployment.
Dave Schoenagle returned the good luck coin to its rightful owner on Monday. He had just arrived home from his sixth deployment.
The Air Force officer had a mission that’s even more personal.
“I’ve thought about you for so long,” said Teresa Burks, as she announced the homecoming on the house microphone.
Her longtime partner Pat Peterson served in Vietnam. While he was there, the U.S. Marine found a Vietnamese coin with the year he graduated from Holy Name in Omaha, Nebraska 1966. He came home in one piece, so he continued to carry it with him for good luck.
Years later “his friends were being deployed, so he decided to share the good luck coin,” said Burks.
Pat Peterson shared the coin privately for a long time, a soldier here, a Marine there.
Cody Rauch was the sixth person to take the coin into battle. The soldier spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan. He returned the coin to Pat Peterson in a ceremony in 2017.
When Pat died the following year, Burks decided to keep the tradition alive. “I prayed for you and thought of you every day,” she said to Dave Schoenagel — the 7th member of the military to take the coin on a deployment.
“It was an honor to carry this coin for you,” he said. “Carry on Pat’s tradition. It pains me a bit to hand it back and I didn’t lose it.”
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