20191115-news-medals

Harry L. Grover was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and campaign medals for his service in Africa and Italy during World War II. The medals were stolen from a locked trailer outside the VFW Post 1881 on Oct. 21. Marty Albright, Grover’s daughter, was given replacement medals by U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s office on Veterans Day. Courtesy

CHEYENNE – The woman who had her father’s World War II military medals stolen from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1881 last month had replacements given to her by U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s office on Veterans Day.

The medals were originally stolen from a padlocked trailer outside the VFW Post on Oct. 21, and Cheyenne Police are still on the hunt for who committed the crime.

The medals were a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and campaign medals from Marty Albright’s father, Harry L. Grover, for his service in Africa and Italy during WWII. Grover was injured and carried shrapnel in him from his time serving in the Italy campaign.

Albright said her father was proud of his service and believed in his country. He did suffer from PTSD when he returned from the war, but it was during a time when there was little awareness about the illness.

VFW club manager Clayton Schoepflin was contacted by Cheney’s office in regard to the stolen medals. Schoepflin then reached out to Albright to let her know Cheney was working on getting her medals replaced.

Albright donated her father’s medals to the VFW about two years ago on Armed Forces Day.

“I think it’s very nice. Of course, they’re replacement medals and they’ll never be the originals, but it’s nice, and they (Cheney) did everything they possibly could to make this right,” she said.

Albright said she really appreciates that Cheney took notice when her father’s medals were stolen, and said it’s sad that it happened because there’s no reason to steal those kinds of things. Schoepflin added that the medals have no real monetary value, but are priceless to the families and veterans who receive them.

Schoepflin, a 21-year retired Air Force master sergeant, said he can understand how personal those medals are for veterans. He said Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts are extremely special because it means those veterans saw combat and were wounded defending the United States.

He said when the replacement medals were presented to Albright, it was a fantastic event, and he couldn’t have been more proud to see it happen.

He wrote a letter to personally thank Cheney for her work securing the medals, and said it’s not every day that someone goes out of their way to help someone else with such a personal task. He said some folks, such as Cheney, are truly amazing to ensure veterans and their families are taken care of.

He added that he also appreciates the outpouring of support from the community regarding the stolen medals.

Isabella Alves is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at ialves@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter @IsabellaAlves96.

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