Army photo triggers blast from the past
WHEN Nikki Roberts saw an old black and white photograph of a soldier abandoned in a street in Lismore, she never imagined the soldier in the picture was alive and well in Lismore.
Miss Roberts subsequently placed the photo on her fridge wondering if she would ever end up finding its owners.
"I heard this scratching in the gutter near the dropbox and I looked down and I saw Ron's face looking up at me from the gutter," she said.
"I picked it up because I love old photos and I just love the memory and nostalgia in old photos.
"And I did think that this man was in military uniform and it is dated '68 and there is probably a good chance that something has happened to him and he is not with us anymore.
"And I thought how sad that this man has lost his life and now his family have lost his memory as well."
Fortuitously former soldier, Ron Leonard, saw his old photo in the background when Miss Roberts was pictured in the newspaper.
Ron remembered the exact day the photo was taken at basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
"I immediately remembered how awful I felt on the day that picture was taken," he said.
"It had pissed with rain all day and we were out crawling through the mud and all this sort of thing."
Mr Leonard said they were instructed to put a shirt and jacket on but most of them still had muddy boots and pants on from training.
He said they were ushered into the corner where the photographer had set up his lights and then down the line were unceremoniously handed the picture.
Mr Leonard said he had never intended on throwing out the picture, which had remained with his mother until her passing, but said that it must have been part of a folder he taken to the dropbox to dispose of.