Francesca Cumero and I met while discussing current events in Northern California, not so current now as some time has passed. Francesca followed up on our discussion by tuning into Rhapsodic Global and signing up as a site member, to her credit. I sincerely appreciate it every time someone signs up, but I must admit I had compartmentalized our conversation to Facebook and did not remember meeting her.
So I did a little searching to make the connection, and what I found is very inspiring. Francesca Cumero is the founder of a volunteer research group called Angelo's Anhttps://ww2tags.org/gels! Francesca helps those who've found dog tags or items that went missing during war time return the items to veteran families. Angelo's Angels is named after Francesca's Veteran Great Uncle Angelo, and inspired by the kindness of a stranger who became a great friend.
Joey Roberts and Francesca met while discussing a mutual friend named Alex Alexander who had passed away. Roberts was serving in Afghanistan, and meeting him reinvigorated Francesca's interest in her Veteran Uncle Angelo, causing her to learn everything she could about him. The WWII Dog Tag Return Project story begins when Francesca discovered that despite his many honors and metals all that came up in a Google search fpr Angelo S. Viale, was an ad for found dog tags.
It was Joseph E. Gunterman who went above and beyond to try and help Francesca retrieve the dog tags, which were found on New Georgia island where Angelo had fought during World War II in Company L of the 161st Infantry Regiment/25th Infantry Division. Angelo S. Viale served in Guadalcanal, and Luzon as well as New Georgia. Mr. Gunterman served as a Navy Veteran in the South Pacific during WWII, he was stationed on the USS Zane which inspired a novel called The Caine Mutiny.
Francesca attributes creating her volunteer organization to the generosity and kindness Joseph Gunterman had shown her. And The experience of coming across Angelo's dog tags which uncovered a plethora of emotions and left a deep impact. While they were never able to retrieve Uncle Angelo's dog tags, to this day Angelo's Angels has found and returned close to 1,000 dog tags in ten years.
Finding her uncle Angelo's dog tags reunited Francesca with the Viale side of her family, and brought them closer together. Reuniting with family also triggered a variety of feelings including tremendous joy, inspiring Francesca to pay it forward by creating a program that helps other families reunite with their loved ones and their history. Francesca claims on their website that she has found her calling, and what a cool calling to have.
Francesca learned how to research and connect with other cultures also effected by the war. I found her website very inspiring because the service being offered is altruistic and all about helping people find peace of mind, bringing families together over their history and returning the physical reminder of what's come to pass. The WWII Dog Tag Return Project site, Angelo's Angels is up and running for anyone who wants to learn more.
I gave you some of Francesca Cumero's story, but there is much more details available on her website. These days Francesca is here in Northern California enjoying her garden crafts and small town life. Francesca and I had a nice chat on the phone while I was in Los Angeles, I had to ask her advice and funny enough it was basically to keep following my heart, to trust the process as I manifest this service into reality.
The inspiration Francesca has felt moving through her and Angelo's Angels must be so very potent, because I can say that I too am inspired to pay forward my best efforts in this world. Not only was it an honor to connect with Francesca and share her story, but I'll always be able to think back to her example and remember that she has done all of this without even asking for or accepting donations.
In the time since we spoke on the phone, I remember beginning this post only to get drawn into the present moment I was experiencing in Los Angeles. A lot of potent things have happened since then, and I can't help but remember Francesca asking me to make sure and keep everyone up to date on my journey. The truth is that I've found myself deep in the creative process accumulating projects and stories to share, updates are on their way.
I'm happy to have followed through on writing about Angelo's Angels because it's people like Francesca Cumero who inspire me, much like Joseph E. Gunterman had inspired her, all of us connected through our calling to service others in some form or another. When we share our stories we help others discover their own and that is really fundamental to what this website is all about. Through my affiliation with Rhapsodic Global I stay reminded to create and serve.
Before finishing this blog up I'd like to make a point to mention again that Angelo's Angels is a research group, meaning there are volunteers listed on their site. There is also a link to another non-profit organization called Pacific Wreks which is devoted to bringing home those who go MIA, missing in action, and leveraging new technologies in the study of past conflicts. Pacific Wreks features an in-depth look at Francesca's story on their site as well where you can get more details.
It was really fun getting to meet Francesca Cumero, I look forward to further discussing genealogy and the nature of service!
Thank you for your support, please do venture onward onto Angelo's Angels website to read more about Francesca Cumero's WWII Dog Tag Return Project.