tampabay.com

Who dropped this bracelet?

The finder of a military reminder of a life lost seeks its rightful owner.

By JON WILSON
Published May 22, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - The bracelet dropped, a clunk on the sidewalk, surely an accident.

Virtually elbow to elbow on Central Avenue during one of downtown St. Petersburg's biggest Friday nights, people swept on. Whoever dropped the bracelet didn't notice.

Someone in Jason Fritsky's group did. A woman picked it up and handed it to Fritsky, who looked at it closely.

It was a military bracelet of the kind made to honor a service member.

By the time Fritsky looked back at the Get Downtown crowd, the person who dropped it was long gone.

"I wore it for a while, " said Fritsky, 26. "Then I felt bad I was wearing it."

A soldier's name and military unit were on the bracelet.

Fritsky works for the Courtside Grille, but he is a former reporter for the Hawthorne Press in New Jersey. He decided a possible way to find the owner was to notify a newspaper, so he called the St. Petersburg Times.

The bracelet turned out to be a hero's legacy.

It was one of many made to honor Marc A. Anderson, an Army Ranger killed in action in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 30 years old.

When Anderson died, several stories about him appeared in the Times.

His parents still live in Jacksonville.

Anderson died in a vicious firefight while trying to retrieve the body of a Navy SEAL killed earlier.

Anderson had listed Brandon as his hometown because a brother, Steven, had a house there.

A former Florida State University track and field All-American, Anderson also was an honors graduate who won a Golden Torch award for being a top student-athlete.

He was teaching seventh-grade math in Fort Myers when he enlisted in 1998.

David Anderson, his father, had been a Ranger, Steven an infantryman and another brother, John, a Marine.

Marc wanted to do his part, his family said.

Steven succumbed to the cancer he had been battling just a year after Marc was killed, said Judith Anderson, the men's mother.

About 150 of the bracelets honoring Marc were made, David Anderson said.

He said he doesn't know who might have owned the one Fritsky found.

"As far as I'm concerned, if (Fritsky) would like to wear it, that would be fine. It would be fantastic. We'd be honored, " David Anderson said Friday.

Marc Anderson also is being honored at Hunter Air Force Base in Georgia, where the fallen soldier had been stationed.

A dormitory is being named after her son, Judith Anderson said.

He is buried at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.