A family received an unexpected gift this holiday season, thanks to the tenacity and meticulous research of two members of the Madden-Wennick American Legion Post 518, Rockhill.
Brian and Brenda Yohn, both members of the Legion, were able to present the flag of the late Dr. Vader M. “Jim” Loomis, who had resided in Waynesboro before his death.
The flag was given to the Legion after a family in Burnt Cabins found it while cleaning out their attic in early November.
“I was told when they bought the house, they were cleaning it out, and they came across the flag, and they didn’t know what to do with it,” said Brian. “So, they brought it to the Legion. They knew the flag was for a fallen veteran, but nobody knew who it was.”
After they discovered the name tag on the flag for Vader Loomis, a quick Google search produced his obituary, and they were able to determine he passed away in 2010 and he was living in Waynesboro at the time of his death.
How the flag ended up in an attic in Burnt Cabins is anyone’s guess.
“We don’t know,” said Brian. “We’re hoping if we tell this story, someone may have a clue as to how it got there.”
The next goal for the Yohns was to return the flag to a family member of Dr. Loomis, which led them on an extensive search.
“We were searching every name (from the obituary) on Facebook, sending messages to anyone we could, but we weren’t getting any responses,” he said. “In the meantime, we did so much research about him, we felt like we knew his family.”
They learned that Dr. Loomis served in the U.S. Army during World War II, with the Veterinarian Station Hospital, serving in the European Theater. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Dr. Loomis started his career as with the government after serving in the military as an inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for small and large animals for disease to make sure it was safe for human consumption. Then prior to retiring in 1977, he worked for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he was an inspector of all imported and national drugs to make sure they were safe for the public.
They learned through this process that his second wife, Emma Doboy-Loomis, had ties to Pennsylvania and had passed away in January of this year. After living in Potomac, Maryland, for many years, they retired to Waynesboro.
He was previously married to Kannie (Ray) Loomis, who passed away in 1968. He remarried in 1970.
While living in Waynesboro, he volunteered as a van driver for veterans for the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging.
That’s where the Yohns decided to make one last call.
“We were on our last leg when we called the Area Agency on Aging,” said Brian. “We learned he bought a van at the age of 85 to take veterans to doctor appointments. My wife and I weren’t going to quit until we put the flag in the hands of the family.”
Officials from the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging were able to put the Yohns in contact with a daughter of Dr. Loomis, who now resides in Florida.
That got the ball rolling to return the flag to the family. None of them even knew the flag existed.
“We also sent a picture, along with a letter of how we got the flag,” said Brian. “Now, they’ll be able to pass it down forever. It will be able to stay in the family, and now the flag, and Dr. Loomis, have the respect they deserve.”
Brian did say even though the flag is back in the family, they are no closer to knowing how the flag got to an attic in Burnt Cabins, as Dr. Loomis had no ties to Huntingdon County.
“The best we can guess is that when his wife passed away, the daughter thought they had an estate sale, and somebody bought a box that had the flag in it,” said Brian.