PITTSTON -- Thomas Kane, who served with the Marines, said he was hired to clean out a home in Pittston when he a found a grave marker for Marine Corporal Stephen Rewtko. It turns out, that marker is misspelled. The family of the Marine who died in 1986 says the correct spelling of the last name is Rentko and his marker is on his grave in Luzerne County.
Luzerne County Veterans Affairs says bronze plaques that are found should be returned to the VA. Director James Spagnola says if you see a misspelling on a grave marker, the VA will replace it,
Newswatch 16 found the grave site of Rentko in St. Mary's Cemetery and the marker there is spelled correctly.
According to the VA, it's possible that the employee who was responsible for delivering the markers meant to return it to the VA and forgot about it.
The VA has asked Kane to return to marker that he found.
A man cleaning out a home in Luzerne County discovered a grave marker made for a Marine veteran who died in 1986. Now he's trying to find the family this marker belongs to.
Thomas Kane displayed a heavy plaque bearing the name of U.S. Marine Corporal Stephen F. Rewtko along with his date of birth and death: August 16, 1936 and January 31, 1986.
Kane found the plaque while cleaning out a home in Pittston and believes it is a marker intended for the Marine veteran's grave.
Now Kane, a former Marine himself, is trying to track down the man's family.
“The gentleman died in 1986 so it's been almost 30 years. These things are expensive to have made up, so I'm sure they'd like to have it. I mean, if it was mine, I'd love to have it back,” said Kane.
Kane was hired by the niece of the man who lived in the house to help clean it out because she and her husband are trying to sell the home.
Ken and Roberta Battista say the uncle, Anthony Biancao, worked for Veterans Affairs of Luzerne County.
“When Uncle Tony worked for the VA part of his responsibility was actually delivering grave markers and flags to the various cemeteries,” said Ken.
Unfortunately, Biancao became ill and is now in assisted living.
“Evidently he never got a chance to deliver because he took ill and was never able to go back to work,” said Ken.
Several flags and war memorial flag holders were also found Biancao's home, meant to be placed at veterans' grave sites.
“I'm a member of the Nanticoke Legion Post 350, so the markers and flags, I'm just going to take them because we use a lot of them during the year anyway,” said Kane.
But his main goal is getting this marker to the family it belongs to.
“Obviously it's someone. It's someone's family. It belongs, it really should go back to its rightful owner and that's really what we're trying to do at this point,” said Ken.
Kane says he has contacted the VA and posted pictures of the plaque on several military veteran sites online as well as Facebook in an effort to track down the family.