Although Priest, now 21, knew little about the war or the veteran to whom she wrote the letter, "I always looked up to people in uniform, so I took it really seriously," she recalled.Just the story I needed today as the rest of the world spins out of control. If you can't feel good about this story, lord knows what it'll take.
She didn't realize, though, that the recipient would take her letter very seriously, too.
Grasberger was eager to connect with the kind girl and decided to draft his own note to her in response.
"You really made me feel very good about fighting the war," he wrote. "War is a terrible thing but if it helped to keep you and many others free' it was well worth it."
Grasberger's wife, Delores, mailed the letter to Priest's school, though the couple never got confirmation that she actually received it.
As years passed and they still hadn't heard anything, "I was determined to find the girl that wrote that letter," Grasberger said.
Over the summer, Grasberger presented his cherished letter to Jill Pawloski, the resident services director at Vitalia Senior Residents at Strongsville. ... She surfed on social media, and after a few quick searches, she found a profile on Instagram that seemed like a possible match, given the name and that the person looked to be about 21 years old.
Pawloski was unsure if she had the right woman, but "I decided to give it a shot and send her a private message," she said. "I hit the nail on the head."
Priest was stunned to see the message in her inbox. She knew exactly what letter - and veteran - the stranger was referring to.
"I was so excited," said Priest, who went on to join the Army National Guard.
She, too, had reflected on the letter over the years, and she did, in fact, receive the reply from Grasberger. She keeps his letter safely stowed in a memory box, filled with other sentimental tokens from her childhood.
"I read it from time to time and think about him," Priest said. "I always wanted to have a conversation with him because of everything he wrote in the letter."