Vietnam War-era love letters recovered after Woodridge tornado

  • Neal Springer looks over one of the letters he wrote to his wife, Carol, while he was stationed in Alaska during the Vietnam War. The box of letters is one of the items they saved from their Woodridge home on Deerfield Avenue after Sunday's tornado severely damaged their home.

    Neal Springer looks over one of the letters he wrote to his wife, Carol, while he was stationed in Alaska during the Vietnam War. The box of letters is one of the items they saved from their Woodridge home on Deerfield Avenue after Sunday's tornado severely damaged their home. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • One of the letters Neal Springer wrote to his wife, Carol, during the Vietnam is dated Oct. 3, 1970, and starts out with "Dear Love."

    One of the letters Neal Springer wrote to his wife, Carol, during the Vietnam is dated Oct. 3, 1970, and starts out with "Dear Love." Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/22/2021 6:09 PM

Decades' worth of family photo albums and heirlooms were swiftly moved out of Neal Springer's basement after a Sunday night tornado rendered his Woodridge home, now so structurally unsound that the roof is at risk of collapsing.

Among the most treasured items recovered were love letters he penned to his wife, Carol, while he was away during the Vietnam War.

 

"She kept all of them," Springer said, pointing to more than two years' worth of letters he sent from basic training in 1970 at Fort Lewis in Washington until 1972 when he was stationed at Fort Greely in Alaska.

"Nobody has seen the letters until now because they were buried," Springer said. "We were very surprised."

Springer's daughter, Becky, had the foresight some time ago to box up the valuables in sturdy hamper-sized plastic bins with lids. They were kept in the basement of the house where the Springer family has lived since 1975.

Carol Springer is in an assisted living facility in Wheaton. She watched the tornado coverage on TV with horror. Becky Springer says her mom is grateful that the family is safe.

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