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An Odd and Wonderful Story of a WWII Vet and His Penpal

By Lori Perkins

I’m older and a little jaded, and living through a pandemic, so I don’t tear up at the “feel-good” stories like I used to, but this one from The Washington Post had me sniffling through my morning coffee.

Dashauna Priest was in third grade in Ohio when her class wrote letters to veterans. She chose Frank Grasberger, then an 83 year-old WWII veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. Her simple, hand-written and illustrated thank you letter so moved Grasberger that he carried it with him wherever he went. “It really tore my heart up when I saw it,” he recalled. “I just couldn’t believe a child could write a letter about a war.”

He wrote back to her saying, “You really made me feel very good about fighting the war. War is a terrible thing but if it helped to keep you and many others ‘free’ it was well worth it.” He mailed the letter to her school but was never sure that she received it.

Years went by, and Grasberger, now 95, still wanted to find that young girl. With the help of social media and friends, he was able to do so this year.

Priest was now a new mother and had been a member of the Army National Guard. She had received his thank you letter after all, and kept it with her always.

The two met and have stuck up a deep connection. Grasberger and his wife say she is like a long-lost daughter to them, and they are getting ready to meet their newest “Grandbaby.”

“She is one of our daughters. We looked 12 years for her, so we have to enjoy her now,” said Delores Grasberger, 93.


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