Honoring fallen veteran she's never met brings California woman to Bowling Green

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- A California woman is going above and beyond the line of duty, traveling state to state to make sure a fallen U.S. Veteran is never forgotten.

Kathy Strong never met Army Medic James Moreland, but she will never forget him.

He went missing from Vietnam in 1968. Five years later, at 12 years old, Kathy Strong was given something that would insure he'd never be forgotten.

"I received his bracelet, a POW MIA bracelet, in my Christmas stocking from Santa," she says, "and I put it on that day, and I promised to wear it until he came home. Of course I had no idea at the time that I'd end up wearing it 38 years."

In 2011, Moreland's body was returned to the United States, prompting Strong to put to rest the bracelet she'd been wearing for nearly four decades.

"I wore it on my left wrist for all those years," she explains, "so before his burial, I took it off and I placed it on the left wrist of his uniform, so that I could fulfill my childhood promise."

Strong's goal is to place a James Moreland memorial brick in every state. Kentucky is the 9th state to bear his name, after today's ceremony in front of the Warren County Courthouse.

Often unaccompanied on her trips from state to state, Strong says it meant a lot to see how much the people she met today got behind her effort.

"It's touching how many people were taken by this story," she says. "It just makes me know that he has a new family here in Bowling Green, so long after I'm gone, James will always be remembered."

Strong says she will continue to make sure that James Moreland and all other fallen soldiers are never forgotten.

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