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Christmas wish comes true for Buffalo World War II veteran whose medals were stolen

Posted at 2:38 PM, Dec 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-22 14:48:49-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — A World War II veteran had a Christmas wish, he wanted to receive a new set of medals that he earned while serving in the United States Army, a Bronze Star and Purple Heart included, which were stolen from his home.

74 years after Corporal Andrew J. Dodges earned the medals, they were presented to him by Buffalo Recruiting Company Commander Captain Randy D. Warren, his Christmas wish came true.

The medals he received were:

• Bronze Star: awarded to members of the military distinguishing themselves by heroic service while engaged in an action against an armed enemy.

• Purple Heart: presented to soldiers who have been injured or killed in action against the enemy while serving with the U.S. Armed Services. The original Purple Heart, first designated the ‘Badge of Military Merit,’ was established by General George Washington in 1782.

• Good Conduct Medal

• European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars

• World War II Victory Medal

• Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award

• Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII

Corporal Dodges, who was born in Buffalo in 1925 and inducted into the U.S. Army in 1943, reached out to Congressman Brian Higgins in late November for help to secure a second set of medals, a process that typically takes months.

The servicememeber's history must be reviewed by the National Personnel Records Center, then a listing of eligible medals is forwarded to the appropriate department of the military, and finally the medals are sent out.

Corporal Dodges confirmation of eligibility for a second set of medals came through on December 17th and Higgins' office immediately contacted the U.S. Department of the Army to put together an express shipment of the medals.

The medals arrived on December 20th, Dodges received them the next day from Warren.

“Corporal Andrew Dodges and other brave men and women who serve this nation have given each of us the priceless gift of freedom," Congressman Higgins said. "It is truly an honor for us to help make this happen. We thank the staff at the Pentagon and the leadership here at the Buffalo Recruiting Company for their assistance with this special delivery.”