BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Three years after losing a green coat and beret that symbolized years of military service, a veteran was reunited with the uniform he thought he would never see again while browsing in an antique shop.
Xenos Lopez said when he moved from one part of Bakersfield to another in 2016, he lost his Army uniform. He’s not sure how it happened, but he suspects someone may have stolen the garment bag it hung in while he was moving his possessions.
Lopez served in the Army from 2004 to 2010 as a parachute rigger and infantryman. The uniform, adorned in medals, represented years of serving the country. He said he was heartbroken when, after moving, he couldn’t locate the uniform.
Three years after the loss, Lopez and his wife were shocked to find the lost uniform hanging in the Mill Creek Antique Mall. He said he recognized the coat by the medals pinned to it.
“Just everything that’s on it is mine so you just instantly know,” said Lopez.
Lopez brought the uniform to the store’s owner, Rick Freels, with the intention of purchasing it. Freels, though, would have none of that.
“I said, ‘It’s yours, you earned it,’ and I could tell how much he appreciated it,” Freels said.
Lopez said he plans on adding the uniform to a shadow box he has been building to commemorate his time in the military.