Family asks for return of stolen Silver Star Medal
"He was just one of those people that would give you the shirt off his back, even if he didn't know you." says Garlan Sankey of her dad, Charles.
Charles served more than twenty years in the U.S. Army. He fought in Vietnam, and among the many commendations he earned was a Silver Star Medal for "gallantry in action."
"Long story short, saving his entire platoon by himself while getting shot at." Gaylan says of his actions. According to the certificate he received with the medal, Charles was accompanying a group near a suspected enemy position, and encountered intense rocket, automatic weapons and small arms fire.
Charles was seriously injured, but stayed to ensure everyone else made it out.
"In that incident he was shot 13 times and has 15 or 16 pieces of shrapnel in him." Gaylan says. "And he stayed until the very end, until everyone got out and all the casualties got out."
On Thursday, January 25, Charles died from lingering effects of that conflict.
Saturday, his family drove to a storage facility in Hutchinson where some of his belongings were kept.
"We came to the storage unit, and it was locked." says Elma Hunsinger, Charles' Wife. "We opened it with our key, and when we put the door up, everything was just...there were very few things in there."
The storage unit was ransacked - nearly everything of value stolen.
"All the special stuff was gone." Elma says.
Among the missing items - his Silver Star, a priceless reminder of his service to our country.
"His Silver Star is...I mean it's worth everything to the family." Elma Says. "And it's gone."
She and the rest of the family were overwhelmed.
"He was such a giving, helping man...it would've really hurt his heart to know that someone had done that." Elma says.
Now, they hope they can at least get some of his items back.
"More than anything we would like the Silver Star back. If we don't get anything else back, we want that silver star."
And they have a message for whoever took it.
"I would tell them my dad fought and ultimately died for their freedom." Gaylan says. "And if they can find one small ounce of decency, to return them."
The family is offering a $1000 reward for the return of the items. If you have any information, you can contact us here at KWCH, or call the Hutchinson Police Department at 620-694-2816.