'I was devastated'; Military medals tossed in trash, fellow Marines search for family
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They are military medals bestowed upon the bravest of the brave, and they were found tossed in the trash.
Now, someone is taking a stand and taking on the task of finding the medals' rightful owner.
It takes a lot to make a bunch of big, tough Marines emotional.
A Purple Heart and Bronze Star ditched in a dumpster did it.
They're asking for your help to find anyone who knew Corporal Charles H. Stoeckle.
He has become the brother they never met.
"He's a marine. Once a Marine always a Marine," said Frank Felix.
A few years back a friend brought the retired Sergeant a briefcase.
It had been dumped by a landlord after the resident of a nearby apartment passed away.
Inside there were photos, records, and medals bestowed upon a Corporal Charles Hock Stoeckle.
"I was devastated. I felt like crying. I was like 'This is not right. This is a guy that served his country,'" said Felix.
He held onto the treasures, assuming someone would claim them.
Now, he's calling in his brothers and 9OYS for help.
"I don't know who threw it away. They don't know what it is. This guy is a hero," said retired Sergeant Mike Obregon, a fellow Vietnam veteran.
"A lot of the general public don't realize what these people did to deserve these awards. It's very disheartening," said John Rodriguez, Commandant of Detachment 007.
So, 9OYS began to dig.
Initial web searches came up empty, but the Nationwide Gravesite Locator shows Corporal Stoeckle, a Nebraska native, is buried in Sierra Vista.
From here the mystery only deepens. Cemetery directors say Corporal Stoeckle doesn't have any next of kin listed, and there's very little on his marker.
In short, it seems to be a case of an unclaimed veteran with an untold story.
So until someone comes forward, Tucson detachment 007 plans to honor their brother themselves.
Thursday night, Felix got his first glimpse of the new display for Corporal Charles Stoeckle.
"That's outstanding," he said.
9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa added "That's the way it should be."
Felix responded, "That's the way it should be."
9OYS tracked down the funeral home where Corporal Stoeckle was cremated.
His arrangements were handled by the county.
Records show he has two children, but no names were listed.
Anyone with information is asked to email Maggie Vespa.