An Ohio couple found an old firefighter’s helmet while cleaning out the basement of their new home and were able to use social media to return it to the family of its original owner.
Alicia Zadorozny said her family was cleaning out the basement of their new home in Lorain when they found a decades-old firefighter’s helmet in a storage space.
Zadorozny and her husband, Andrew, decided to see if they could find the owner of the helmet, which had the name “Wilker” written on it.
Zadorozny posted photos to a Facebook page for Lorain residents, and the post soon came to the attention of current and former members of the Lorain Fire Department.
Locals determined the helmet had probably belonged to Clarence Wilker, who served in the department for more than 25 years before retiring in the 1980s and dying in 1990.
Zadorozny took the suggestion from some commenters to contact Westlake Firefighters Local 1814, as Wilker’s son, Brian Wilker, served as a lieutenant in Westlake before retiring in 2021.
“I get a text message from one of the guys I worked with in Westlake and another guy in Avon, and they both texted me that ‘Hey, is this your dad?’ and I looked at it, I said ‘Yeah, that’s the helmet,’ I remember seeing the helmet in the back there years ago,” Brian Wilker said.
Wilker said he does not know how the helmet ended up in the basement of Zadorozny’s home, but he remembered the helmet was given to his father’s girlfriend when he died.
Wilker said his father’s helmet will now go on display at his home, next to his own helmet.
“It’s some important memorabilia for us and they were able to give it back to us, because we completely lost track of it,” he said.