SAN ANTONIO – It's not going to light anything ablaze, but Michael Estrada hopes a broken, decades-old lighter might make its owner or their family light up.
The lighter, which Estrada found on the side of the road in Hondo, appears to be an airman's who served in the 6143rd Squadron at Itazuke, Japan, in 1960. There's no name, but he hopes he can get it back to its owner or his family.
"Hopefully, somebody will come some day and I just want to see the joy and happiness if it belongs to somebody," he said.
The engravings on both sides leave clues. One side reads "6143 RD TRANSPORTATION SQ ITAZUKE JAPAN MERRY XMAS DECEMBER 1960." On the other is "SQUADRON OF THE YEAR 1960."
"When I'm holding it. I feel like I'm holding history," Estrada said.
Estrada found the lighter two years ago while changing a flat tire. He saw it in the grass and thought it looked interesting. So he took it home, put it his grandmother's china cabinet and forgot about it. When his wife came across it yesterday, though, he decided to to look into it.
With family in the military, including a World War II veteran for a grandfather, he knows how important it could be.
"You never know," he said. "This could mean so much to people, maybe lost history, and I just want to give it back to the community, whoever it belongs to, a family member."
He has tried posting on KSAT Facebook page and one for the old Air Force base saying "Might be a good chance someone will come forward and look into it."
He hasn't had any leads so far, but he hopes the owner, their family or anyone with clues comes forward.
If not, he said he would love to give the lighter to a museum.