Officials are working to replace a Congressional Gold Medal stolen from the home of a 93-year-old man who was one of the Tuskegee Airmen, a unit of black fighter pilots who served during World War II.The image in the corner is an example of a Tuskegee Airman gold medal issued to surviving members of this WW2 Air Force unit on March 29, 2007!
The medal was stolen from Quentin Smith's home in Gary during a burglary last summer, but Smith says he was reluctant to report the theft.
"As time went by, I became even ashamed to even announce it or ask about it until my police friend came over, and he said, 'Well, let's take a shot at it," Smith told WLS-Channel 7.
Smith, who spent much of the war as a flight instructor with the unit, was among about 300 surviving Tuskegee Airmen to receive the award in 2007.
Gary Police Sgt. Freddie Cook said Smith was his high school principal and he couldn't believe anyone could be so disrespectful.
"It broke my heart because you have not just a veteran but you also have a 93-year-old man," Cook said. "And somebody has the audacity to break into his home and take things.
“They ransacked his home. The medal was in a drawer in the bedroom. They took miscellaneous items, some jewelry and alcohol. He doesn’t care about any of it, he just wants the medal back,” he said.
City officials contacted U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky's office about getting a replacement medal for Cook and the congressman hopes to present it to him soon, said Visclosky's spokeswoman, Sarah Olson.
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