COQUILLE — A Coquille family recently discovered some Army dog tags from a Korean War soldier when removing some shrubbery and their daughter's intrigue helped find the soldier’s family.

Lilly Kate Beam, a student at Coquille’s United Valley Christian Academy, was so excited by the dog tags she brought them to her school for show and tell. Beam’s teacher did a little digging on the Internet and learned that the tags’ owner Clarence Spurgeon had died, but relatives of the veteran were living in Coos Bay.

Spurgeon’s dog tags spurred a military appreciation day at UVCA Wednesday, where the tags were presented to Spurgeon's nephew John Johnson. A plaque with Spurgeon’s name was made to house the tags.

Around 20 veterans showed up to tell their stories, and enjoy patriotic songs sung by UVCA students.

Johnson told stories about his uncle, who according to him, was over 7-feet tall. He looked for pictures to bring to the event, but couldn’t find any.

While it’s unknown how the dog tags ended up buried, they were reasonably in the right place, as Spurgeon’s family used to own the land where the Beam family now lives. 

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