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MIA bracelet leads Fla. woman to Brookhaven

Capt. Danny Entrican turned 55 years old Sunday, and while hemay not have been surrounded by family and friends, their thoughtswere certainly with him all day.

His sister, Jenny Watson, placed fresh flowers on the monumentbearing his name near a freedom tree in Railroad Park.

A special friend, Jerry Shira, whom Entrican has never met,traveled over 900 miles to visit Entrican’s hometown of Brookhavenon the special day.

Despite Entrican’s absence from birthday parties over the last30 years, Watson and Shira met for a small celebration in hishonor.

Their thoughts and conversations strayed to the same topic. Theywondered what had happened to Entrican on May 18, 1971, in thejungles of Vietnam.

After Entrican was separated from his Green Beret group thatday, he has been considered Missing In Action. His disappearancehas affected numerous lives that never had the chance to meet theman they now pray for and think of daily.

Shira, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has been interestedin Entrican’s life since 1972, when she received a bracelet bearinghis name.

“My father was in the Navy, based in Jacksonville, Fla., at thetime. I was only 12 years old when I had the opportunity to wear aMIA/POW bracelet,” Shira explained. “You could either request aname or let them just give you one, and I got Danny’s.”

The power the small, silver half-inch bracelet seems to possesshas amazed Shira and Watson, who were connected Sunday for thefirst time.

While Watson worried over the whereabouts of her then25-year-old brother, she had no idea that a complete stranger wasdoing the same.

Shira did not take the meaning of her bracelet half-heartedly asmany 12 years old do. Instead, she focused much of her energy intowishing Entrican a safe journey home.

She also showed a deep commitment to the bracelet.

“I wore it for five years, never taking it off,” she said. “Butthen it became weak and I put it aside.”

When she found the bracelet again last year, her mind raced withquestions about the missing soldier.

“I wanted to know everything about him. I wondered if he wasstill missing and where he was from,” Shira said.

Her friends helped in the research efforts and they soondiscovered much about Entrican.

Shira even found his name at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial inWashington, D.C., and had someone copy it onto paper on MemorialDay last year.

“Then every time I turned around there was something constantlyreminding me of Danny,” Shira noted, mentioning how even the sightof Purple Hearts or talk of the Vietnam War made her think of themissing soldier.

She renewed her pact to not forget those who did not come backfrom Vietnam by purchasing another silver bracelet with Entrican’snamed on it.

“I replaced it last year and have not taken it off since then,”she said.

Shira had hoped to make a trip to Vietnam this year, but wasunable to. She decided it would be more beneficial to meetEntrican’s family in Brookhaven.

She and her friend, Robin Foster of Birmingham, Ala.,anticipated the special weekend for months. They had learned somuch about Entrican, and now they would be exposed to much moreabout his life before 1971.

His parents, Louie Entrican Sr. and Mildred Entrican, have bothpassed away, but Shira was grateful to be able to spend severalhours with Watson, who shared many interesting stories withher.

“Danny was really a fighter. We have not given up on him. Youjust never know with Danny,” Watson commented. “Until I getsomething definite, I don’t think I’ll ever give up.”

Watson, who named her son in honor of her brother, believes nomatter where Entrican is right now, she is sure he is involved inthe military. She remembers how important the military was to him,and how he wrote in letters there was “a reason for being inVietnam.”

She said he would be astonished and humbled by the love he hasreceived from strangers during the last 30 years.

Several other people from around the nation have becomeinterested in Entrican’s safety, said Watson, who has beencontacted by a number of people through the years. She recalls howshe has bumped into dozens of people wearing bracelets in honor ofEntrican.

Her chance to meet and talk with one of the people who watchover and think about her brother was monumental.

“It really means a lot. We’re just thankful for the people whostill wear the bracelet,” she said.

Shira hopes that one day she will take her bracelet off again,signifying that Entrican has returned home.