Woman wants to return WWII item found online to Bay Area-war hero’s family

At Duggan's Serra Mortuary in Daly City, a package came in the mail recently. It was a World War II U.S. Army deployment bag.

The bag had a name stenciled on it: Dino J. Ruggeri. A veteran by that name was a World War II hero who had his funeral at Duggan's two years ago.

The package was sent from a woman in Los Angeles, Shannon Bowen,  who told us by phone she saw it online and decided to buy it for Ruggeri's family, people she didn't even know,

"I found this nice military duffel bag from Etsy in Detroit. I could see the name on the side.

 I thought I should buy it and see if the family is still alive and would like it," Bowen said.

"I was really touched by this. Especially because it was someone who passed away who was a veteran," said Joe Luis Gutierrez, who had arranged Ruggeri's funeral.

Bowen searched online for Ruggeri’s obituary and found it.

It listed him as a San Francisco native, who served in World War II as a tail gunner and earned a purple heart, distinguished flying cross and air medal. He died in 2017 at the age of 97.

"The man sounded like such a wonderful human being," Bowen said.

The funeral director reached out to his daughter in the East Bay. She told us she was grateful to the person who sent it.

But there is a mystery.

The service number on the bag doesn't match Ruggeri's actual service number. So the army has to double check before the daughter can be certain it was her father's.

The funeral director plans to deliver the bag to the daughter within the next few days, so she can at least have a look at it.

But whether it turns out that this bag belongs to the same Dino J. Ruggeri or not, it's worth acknowledging during this holiday season that someone went through the trouble of buying and sending something that may hold sentimental value for someone.

"I'm really hopeful it truly was his," says Bowen.

"I believe this person in L.A. has a beautiful heart," says Gutierrez.