Saluting our Veterans in the Heartland - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Saluting our Veterans in the Heartland

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Veterans Day is the day set aside for our nation to salute the men and women who have fought for our country.

And for many of those soldiers they received service and combat medals during their tour of duty.

Tommy Fenton of Mt. Vernon is one of those soldiers who served with the U.S. Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Infantry in South America.

He was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions on the combat zone. But he had lost track of it over the years after placing it in a bank safety deposit box.

The contents of the box ended up in the hands of the Illinois State Treasurer's Office in 2010.

And on Veterans Day Fenton's Bronze Star was ceremoniously returned to him by Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

"I really, really though that it was gone forever," said Tommy Fenton a U.S. Army Veteran. "It means a lot to me because of the connection to my father. He served during the invasion of Normandy and was awarded the Silver Star. To me he was the real hero. As are any of the guys who fought in WW II, they're the heroes."

Fenton's Bronze Star is just one of several military medals the Illinois State Treasurer is trying to return to the soldier, or the soldiers family through his Operation Reunite Program.

"We have 16 Purple Hearts, a Silver Cross and Bronze Stars," said Rutherford. "I know they were earned by men or women who have sacrificed for their country. And to think that they themselves, or if they've passed away, that their children or grandchildren don't have them as a piece of memorabilia of their loved ones is why I decided to get aggressive about returning them to service member of their family."

Rutherford continued his salute to Veterans in McLeansboro, where he and State Representative Bradley handed out certificates of appreciation to ten men who served in WW II.

"I was glad to serve my country," said Roy Redman a WW II U.S. Army Veteran. "I could have come home six months early. But I went over there with a bunch of buddies that I went through all the training with and all of that. I told my company commander that I wanted to come home when the rest of the guys come home."

If you would like to find out more aboutOperation Reunite and the military items or other unclaimed items in the Illinois State Treasurer's vault just log onto the website at;



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