JACOBUS, York County — It was a touching scene at the annual Fourth of July Blast at the Jacobus Community Park earlier today, when a World War II veteran had his lost medals restored to him in a special ceremony.
Sam Crane, who served as a Private First Class with the F Company, 113th Calvary (Mechanized) during campaigns in Africa, Normandy, Northern France and the Rheinland Campaign, earned an American Theater Service Medal, a Victory Medal, a European, African and Middle Eastern Campaign medal and a Good Conduct Medal in addition to the Purple Heart he was awarded after being wounded in Holland.
But those medals and his Purple Heart certificate were destroyed in a fire at his Loganville home years after his service had ended.
Years later, Crane mentioned the loss of his medals to a friend, Don Robertson, over coffee at a Rutter’s Market, according to Pennsylvania State Rep. Kristen Phillips-Hill, who shared the story at the ceremony.
“Sam Crane is just a well-respected member of our community, and everybody knows him. Mr. Robertson came up to the district office, and he shared Mr. Crane’s story with us,” said Phillips-Hill. “And he said, ‘We need to get those medals back for him.'”
“If we would have told him we were doing this, he would have said ‘no way,'” said Robertson.
Phillips-Hill contacted Terry Gendron, director of the York County Department of Veterans Affairs, and they managed to obtain replacements for Crane’s lost medals.
And in front of an applauding crowd, Crane got them back — along with a heartfelt tribute from Phillips-Hill.
“You have sacrificed so much for our country, and you truly deserve to have these medals, which memorialize your selfless acts of courage, back in your possession as a legacy for your children,” she said, as Crane wiped his eyes. “Thank you for your service, and we are so proud that you’ve made our community your home.”