Retired U.S. veteran Bernard Schermerhorn has a very long memory.
Among the events that have popped into the 73-year-old's grey matter over the years is one time he did something he said was very out of character.
When Schermerhorn was a high schooler in 1959 he gave in to peer pressure and took part in a pal's plot to steal racks from The Ledger newspaper in Lakeland, Florida, and pocket some change. The pair then dumped the newspaper stands in a lake, Bay News 9 noted.
But the vet's admission concerning his youthful "high jinks" is merely the beginning.
Schermerhorn penned an apology letter to the paper last month — and enclosed a check for $200 as compensation.
"I wish to now return many times over the cost of six newsstands and the few papers, also the amount of approximately $10 in small change," he wrote. "The fact that he talked me into going along with the idea doesn't in any way lessen my responsibility for what we did collectively."
Schermerhorn, who now lives all the way across the country in La Mesa, California, told the Ledger that he "just got to thinking about it" and decided to send the money. "It's just not right to not pay it back," he added to the paper. "I thought about it many times over the years...It was just time."
Schermerhorn served in the Navy for 20 years and then worked as a cook for the San Diego County Probation Department for 18 years, Bay News 9 added.
Kevin Drake, Ledger Media Group publisher, said he appreciated Schermerhorn's honesty. "Our country would be much better off if there were more people like him who took responsibility for their own actions," Drake told the paper.
The publisher added that he was sending a letter of thanks back to Schermerhorn and noted that his check would be donated to Florida Baptist Children's Homes' Shine a Light, which helps rescue and restore child victims of domestic sex trafficking, the Ledger added.