Trashed Vietnam medals & photos returned to late veteran's family
Soldier's daughter claims honors she framed for him 23 years ago. A life's story thrown away. But now it's back in the hands of a loving family after the 4 In Your Corner Troubleshooter got involved.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - A life's story thrown away. But now it's back in the hands of a loving family after the 4 In Your Corner Troubleshooter got involved.
Pictures of a young soldier, war medals and dog tags.
They tell the story of someone who fought for this country.
The items were found in the trash recently on the side of the road in Port Charlotte.
Randy Dickinson's kids found the items.
He took a picture of them and sent it along with an email to Fox 4 anchor Patrick Nolan.
"This was found in a pile of trash removed from a home where the renters were evicted in Port Charlotte," wrote Dickinson.
"It is an arrangement of army items for a Roger Bruce Paddock that includes medals, patches, dog tags and a Honorable Discharge certificate dated November 26, 1967."
Dickinson told Patrick he wasn't interested in being on TV.
"We don't want to be involved in any news story but feel these articles must be important to someone," he wrote.
He ended his email with a suggestion for 4 In Your Corner.
"We will be happy to give it to the station if you are able to find it a home where it is appreciated properly."
On Monda, Memorial Day, Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant went to meet with Randy and convinced him to make a public plea to find family of the veteran.
"Hopefully someone can clean that up and make it look really good," said Randy Dickinson, holding a blue board filled with military mementos.
Matt went through the things and found an honorable discharge certificate.
It's made out to Pfc. Roger Bruce Paddock dated 1967.
He served in Vietnam and received several medals including one for good conduct.
His unit was also given a presidential citation twice.
Dickinson saved it all from a landfill.
"It needs a proper place," Dickison said.
"And that's not it."
Matt found the proper place.
He asked members of the the local VFW to help him escort the honors to the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda for safekeeping.
"To a family member," said Cmdr. Joe Saphner with VFW Post 5690, "of course it would be very sentimental."
For the museum director, this is a first.
"To find something like this on the sidewalk," said Kim Lovejoy, "I hope is pretty rare."
Lovejoy says it's common for soldiers to save items and create a collage similar to what Dickinson found.
"This is the inside component of a shadow box," she said. "And this is something veterans make a lot. It's something that shows what's important to them in their military careers."
Dickinson told us the honors important to us all of us and just hoped the veteran or his family could be found.
"I don't know who it was, I don't know who they were," said Dickinson, "but it's valuable to me just knowing I have my freedom because of him."
A friend of Paddock's family saw Fox 4's report on Monday night.
"I got a voice mail that night after the Fox news segment aired," said Tammy Shurter who is Roger Paddock's daughter.
She said she went to bed baffled since she arranged many of the honors in a framed "shadow box" after her dad's death in 1989.
"I got up the next morning and got online on the Fox news and saw the segment," said Tammy.
And museum director presented the honors to her today.
"Tammy, we are so delighted to return this to you in honor of a your dad," the museum director told her.
"Thank you, we're so happy to have it back," said Tammy who also thanked the Port Charlotte family who found the honors and emailed Fox 4,
"They did a very good deed," she said, "and took the extra step to make sure they're in the right hands, so this memory wasn't lost forever."
To find out more about the Military Heritage Museum, call (941) 575-9002.