Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford returns Bronze Star to Army Ranger Tommy Fenton.
Mt. Vernon, IL (KSDK) - It's an award for military acts of merit and heroism in a combat zone. And on Monday a southern Illinois veteran was reunited with the Bronze Star he lost track of more than a decade ago.
"I'd placed it in a safety deposit box and just forgotten where I'd put it," said Tommy Fenton of Mt. Vernon.
Fenton earned the Bronze Star during a classified operation in South America with the Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Infantry.
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says the medal ended up in his office as unclaimed property. The state treasurer's office routinely returns long lost items to their veteran owners thanks to the Operation Reunite program.
Rutherford presented Fenton with his missing Bronze Star during a ceremony at the Mt. Vernon Airport Military Museum. Fenton's family and other veterans were there to watch.
"It's my honor to stand here with an American hero and reunite him with something that he earned and deserves," said Rutherford.
The Illinois State Treasurer's Office is currently holding onto nearly 200 military artifacts. One particular medal dates back to the Spanish American War. Rutherford is asking for help with returning the artifacts to the men and women who earned them, or their families.
You can check the list of veterans missing medals and other honors by visiting Operation Reunite's website.