JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - When a Jacksonville man found a bracelet on the beach, he instantly knew its value. It’s not made of gold or encrusted with diamonds; it’s etched with a name and place.
“Josh Jones. Baghdad, Iraq. August 2013.”
“I looked at it and I said ‘Oh no, I’ve gotta return this,’” John Porcella said. Porcella found the bracelet with his metal detector on Jacksonville Beach a couple weeks ago.
Porcella frequently hits the beach with his metal detector, a hobby he started in his native New York back in 1971.
“It’s a thrill when you find something,” he said.
Just three months ago, Porcella found a high school ring and was able to track down the young woman it belonged to. She lived in Georgia and had lost the ring in 2015.
But nothing compared to battered black cuff, which appeared to be a military remembrance bracelet.
“I felt respect for him because he gave his life for us,” Porcella said of the unknown Josh Jones. “And the only thing I can do to show my respect is to try to get it back to the rightful owner.”
Porcella posted a photo of the bracelet on Facebook, which has been shared hundreds of times. His research brought him to a remembrance page for a Joshua Jones who was killed in Baghdad in August, 2006. His inquiry post on the page has gone unanswered.
So Porcella’s quest continues. Even if he’s unable to find the owner, Porcella vowed that Josh Jones will never be forgotten.
“If nobody claims it, I’ll keep it personally,” he said. “And I’ll never dispose of it. I’ll always remember him. Even though I don’t know him, I will remember his name.”
If you know anything about Josh Jones or the owner of the bracelet, please contact First Coast News’ Juliette Dryer at firstname.lastname@example.org.