WASHINGTON - A Marine has been identified after a man found a camera and memory card with photos of the serviceman's time in Iraq from 2008.
FOX 5's Lauren DeMarco has been in contact with Marine Ben Zellmann after Matt Walker and his landscaping team found his camera nine years ago. They found a smashed camera on the side of the road along Calvert Street just off of Connecticut Avenue in Northwest D.C. one afternoon back in 2008.
“I’ve never been in the military, but by the photos, I can feel what they were going through and this is why it makes it some important to give it back to him,” Walker said.
The camera was destroyed, but the memory card wasn't-- and it still contains 300 photos of Zellmann. In them, he is seen attending a Marine gala, training at Alasad Airbase, meeting with Iraqi children, attending a Washington Redskins game, and of course, training.
For the past nine years, Walker said he’s held onto the memory card as he tried to find Zellmann with no luck-- until now. He saw a Veterans Day story on FOX 5 about men in service and was inspired to contact us, hoping we could help solve the mystery.
“I’ve contacted recruiters, I’ve contacted Marine buddies trying to figure out how to get this back to him, but nothing,” Walker said.
After many tips and calls from people who saw his story, Zellmann was identified and we were able to contact him. Both Zellmann and Walker were in the FOX 5 studios Sunday night, where the Marine finally got his photos back after so many years.
"I thought it was gone forever," Zellmann said. "I thought it was just gone."
But it wasn't, thanks to Walker. Zellmann told FOX 5 his camera and laptop were actually stolen from his apartment in Winchester, Virginia. Walker-- who consequently also lives in Winchester, but was working in D.C.-- found the busted up camera sitting on the side of the road, but realized the memory card was still there.
And on this Sunday night of Veterans Day weekend, he was more than happy to make his way in to return the missing memories to a deserving Marine.
"This is awesome. This is what I've been trying to do for a long time," Walker said on FOX 5 during the reunion.