Lost bracelet back on owner's wrist

It was a special honor award presented to a National Guard officer.

Published May 28, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Just days after a story ran in the Neighborhood Times in search of the owner of a military memorial bracelet for Army Ranger Marc A. Anderson, the call came in.

Jason Fritsky wanted to return the bracelet to its rightful owner and decided that calling the local paper would be the best way to find him or her.

He imagined a crying girlfriend somewhere, reading the story and tracking him down like they do in the movies.

The bracelet was dropped on Central Avenue some months ago during a crowded Get Downtown event and made its way into the hands of Fritsky.

He wore it for a while, then set it aside until one day his conscience got to him.

"I was just looking at the bracelet one day and I was like 'what do I do with you?' " he said.

Two days after his story ran, the bracelet was returned, not to a crying girlfriend, but to the wrist of 2nd Lt. Alibek Dagly. He had worn it for the past four years until he lost it downtown, but had never even met Anderson.

"I was surprised by how he came by it. I was expecting this to be a family friend or a relative," Fritsky said.

Instead he met Tuesday with Dagly, the gung-ho National Guard officer, at BayWalk downtown and returned the bracelet. Dagly had received it during Air Assault School for coming in first in his class during a 12-mile marching drill.

Dagly wasn't a friend or family member of Anderson's, but a fellow soldier. He knows the story of how Anderson died and the bracelet is a reminder of his heroics.

"I'm a pretty spiritual guy," Dagly said. "I think of him as sort of a guardian angel."

In return for the bracelet and the good deed, he brought Fritsky a map-bag that he had been carrying for a while. They both wore their newly exchanged items as they shook hands and marveled at the sequence of events that had brought them together.

Fritsky said he felt relieved that the bracelet was back where it belonged and the circle was complete.

"It just goes to show we don't have to know each other or be related or love each other to have an impact on other people's lives," he said.

Dagly was surprised anyone took the time to tell the story and return what he thought was lost for good. "I think he's a solid guy," Dagly said. "It's nice to see people like him still exist and are concerned with other people's belongings."

Things didn't turn out the way Fritsky thought they might, but he feels he did the right thing. His only regret was waiting so long.

He and Dagly agreed to meet again before parting.

"We'll probably hang out again some time and have a drink." Fritsky said. "Who knows, we could become friends."

Nick Johnson can be reached at nickjohnson@sptimes.com or 893-8361.