EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNW) — At 85 years old, Marine Corps veteran Loren Anthony is just as young at heart as he was the day he started collecting things.

“I started collecting things since I was born,” Anthony said.

But it’s not just anything he collects. Over the years, Anthony has amassed a treasure trove of military memorabilia that could make any history buff jealous.

“World War II just intrigued me, and being in the Marine Corps, then, I had always leaned towards the Pacific Campaign,” Anthony said.

From a 1967 Army ambulance to a WWII-era Jeep, Anthony keeps dozens of items in his workshop turned makeshift “mini” museum.

One of his most prized possessions is a WWII-era addressograph machine.

“This machine is an early WWII machine … made by an addressograph company that had a contract with the government to make dog tags,” Anthony said.

The cost of this collectible is $2,500.

But Anthony doesn’t let these historic artifacts collect dust. Instead, he repurposes them for a greater cause.

“I make dog tags for [the] WWII History Center in El Dorado, Honor Flight … I go up once a year to the POW (prisoner of war) camp in Concordia and make dog tags … about everywhere they invite me,” Anthony said.

For the Kansas Honor Flight alone, Anthony has made 2,790 dog tags to date.

Letter by letter, punch by punch, Anthony says the painstaking effort to personalize each one is worth every second.

“The last honor flight that went, I received a dozen thank you cards from veterans that’s on that flight that didn’t know me from anything, just had the dog tags, and every one of them says thank you for recognizing us.”

As for his vehicles, Anthony drives them out to parades, car shows and military events. At times, he’s also turned them into living history exhibits, giving history buffs of all ages a chance to step back in time.

“I’ve went to schools and let all the kids look at it,” Anthony said. “Veterans, really, they deserve all the respect we can give ’em. I’m gratified to know that like I say, that I have knowledge about something that people are interested in and maybe broaden their knowledge … at least they’re getting an idea, they can at least relate to what was happening in WWII.”


If you would like to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Hannah Adamson at hannah.adamson@ksn.com.