IMPORTANT UPDATE: FOX6 is now in contact with Private Lloyd's family. They are aware of the items.
SOUTH MILWAUKEE -- Two men are on a mission to reunite a memorial shadowbox with the family of a soldier killed in Iraq more than a decade ago. The items in the shadowbox include a Purple Heart.
"To me, you don't...I don't know throw stuff like that away," said Kevin Wierzchowski.
Last fall, Wierzchowski saw something that hit home.
"I'm from a military family," said Wierzchowski.
While helping clean out unclaimed items from a basement unit, he discovered the memorial shadowbox and flag.
"I found a picture of a soldier with a Purple Heart, Bronze Star," said Wierzchowski.
The items honor Private Keith Lloyd, a soldier with the United States Army who was killed 11 years ago while serving in Iraq. Reports indicate he died from wounds he endured when his vehicle was hit with an explosive. He was just 26 years old.
"You don't throw military stuff away," said Wierzchowski.
Wierzchowski decided to keep the items safe in his home, hoping one day someone could help him find the soldier's family. Jon Stollenwerk is a veteran who also served in Iraq, and he's taken the lead in the effort to track down relatives of the fallen soldier.
"There's 21 shells inside this case. It takes a special person to step foot on the battlefield. It's sad that you die twice. The first time, you physically die, and the second time is when your name is spoken for the last time. That's how this makes me feel," said Stollenwerk.
A search of the FOX6 News archives revealed an interview with Lloyd's family in 2008, shortly after he was killed.
"He was proud to be in the Army," said Cora Lloyd, sister.
Wierzchowski and Stollenwerk are on a mission to unite the fallen soldier's belongings with his loved ones.
"I've reached out to the local funeral homes. I haven't heard anything since," said Stollenwerk.
If no family is found, the men said the items will be donated to South Milwaukee High School, where Private Keith Lloyd graduated.