TYLER, Texas—Marty Bruce, of Tyler, has always regarded her late father as a hero, and a box she found about three years ago proved her theory.
Now she's getting help preserving his legacy defending his country with a different kind of box — a shadowbox showcasing his service and honors.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports the cardboard box Bruce found belonged to her mother, Betty Currier, and contained her father's military awards and paperwork.
Inside Bruce found details of Burton Currier's military career, which spanned more than 30 years and included service in the Canadian Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
"When you're a teenager you don't care what your folks do," Bruce said. "It wasn't until recently that I wanted to tell a story."
A recent desire to display the items properly in a shadowbox led her to Hue Adams, of the Marine Corps League's Rose City Detachment.
"We're going to take care of our own," said Adams, who is also a Marine Corps veteran. "In the Marine Corps we call it 'esprit de corps.'"
The organization recently began helping Bruce research and arrange her father's awards for the shadowbox. Adams said there is a proper protocol for how each item in the shadowbox should be laid out.
Among Currier's many honors is the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Although Bruce said Currier never discussed anything about his experiences overseas, she has learned of a time he shot down three Japanese A6M "Zero" fighter planes.
Another story about her father remained a secret for many years.
"He was flying over Japan and he got shot," Bruce said. "He got shrapnel on his back. He told my mom for years he'd had warts removed.
"She found out years later he'd got shot," she added.
Through their research so far, members of the Marine Corps League's Rose City Detachment said they're in awe of Currier's bravery and accomplishments.
They believe the shadowbox will be complete by December.
"He's the real deal," said Chuck Tompkins, Rose City Detachment commander who is also leading the research process in this project. "Someone can go and tell stories, but it doesn't mean anything until you have the papers to back it up."