HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (PIX11) — In 1971, a Long Island woman wrote a letter to a Vietnam soldier as part of a fourth-grade project. Five decades later, she decided it was time to see if she could find out if the recipient survived.

He did.

Kathleen Ryan and Dominick Cutalo met for the first time, by chance, at an event two weeks ago. She was still carrying the letter, with blind hope the soldier would be there.

It turns out, Cutalo and Ryan had been living in the same neighborhood the whole time, she discovered with research.

Ryan returned the letter to Cutalo Wednesday, and PIX11 News photojournalist Keith Lopez was there to capture their reunion.