CREATED Sep. 18, 2013
SAN CARLOS PARK, Fla.- A San Carlos Park woman learned her father's remains had been found nearly five decades after his plane was shot down on enemy territory during the Vietnam War.
Lisa Szymanski only knew her father, Army Staff Sergeant Lawrence Woods for 12 short years, but she could tell you even the tiniest details of her precious time with him.
" I remember he was a fabulous cook. I can remember ice cream, he brought me ice cream every single night. Szymanski said.
Szymanski said what she remembers most was her father's passion and love for our country.
"When my dad was 15, he lied about his age he went into the Army. A year later they found out and kicked him out that's how much he wanted to join." Szymanski said.
But, Szymanski said one memory she wishes she didn't have, was finding out she may never see her father again.
" Staff Sergeant Lawrence Woods at the time was missing in action that his plane was shot down." Szymanksi said.
Lisa said her father's plane was dropping off supplies in October of 1964 when it was shot down by enemy fire. All of the passenger's bodies were recovered except for Staff Sergeant Lawrence Woods.
As a young girl, Szymanski said the news was impossible to comprehend.
" He was my dad, I'd go home and see his picture and it was like he's not going to come home." Szymanski said.
As years flew by, memories never faded and the family refused to lose faith.
" Always had that hope he was still alive and he's going to come walking through the door." Szymanski said.
Tuesday night, Szymanski got a call from Army officials and heard the news she had been waiting for all this time. Her father's remains had been found.
" It was like am I hearing what I think I'm hearing? They did find enough evidence to prove 100 percent it was my father." Szymanski said.
Now, Lisa, her daughter Christina and the rest of the family finally have some closure and can say goodbye to their hero.
" This right now is more of a happy feeling for me, it is closure that our family has needed for a very long time and it's an honor to know the type of man my grandfather was." Christina Szymanski said.
"We never gave up we prayed, I love him we never forgot about him and we miss him I wish he was here." Lisa Szymanski said.
Szymanski said Staff Sergeant Lawrence Woods will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery sometime next Spring.