Dog tags found in backyard returned to WWII veteran’s daughter


NEW LEBANON, N.Y. (NEWS10) A local woman has a piece of her father back after his military dog tags were found in an unexpected place. The WWII veteran they belonged to passed away nearly 30 years ago, but his daughter lives just ten minutes away from where they were found.

Two New Lebanon women embraced as they met for the first time. They were drawn together by an unexpected find in a backyard.

“I was over in this area here,” explained Suzanne Schmidt. She was leaf blowing her garden when something caught her eye.

“It was like in one of these areas right here. I just kept pulling and pulling and then I went ‘wow,’ there’s two of them here,” said Schmidt.

It was a pair of military dog tags belonging to an Alfred Barscz. Suzanne took a picture, posted it on Facebook, and three hours later…

“They found what?” said Reggie Lankin.

Alfred Barscz was her father.

“He was the first married man in the City of Pittsfield to be drafted. His nickname was Boogie,” said Lankin.

He served in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II and was stationed in Africa and Italy. He returned to Pittsfield in 1945 and became a car and liquor salesman.

“So he was very well known,” said Lankin.

He loved cooking, playing football, and his friends.

“He stayed very close with all his classmates,” said Lankin.

And he cherished his family.

“He never really took care of himself but he would always make sure my mom and I were taken care of,” said Lankin.

Her father died in 1990. He and her mother are buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. As to how the dog tags ended up in a garden? Barscz spent time there as his relatives once owned the home before Suzanne did.

“There’s so many bad things going on I’m so happy that this is a good thing and I brought them home to the family,” said Schmidt.

Reggie doesn’t have a lot of pictures of her father, but she holds her memories close and now has a new way to remember him.

“It’s nice to have it back and part of him back,” said Lankin.

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