Veteran regains lost items after Almeda fire

MEDFORD, Ore., — An 89-year-old Korean War veteran lost everything in the Almeda fire. Now, Congressman Walden and other government officials are helping to replace what they can.

One year before the deadly Almeda fire, veteran John Bromstead met Congressman Greg Walden during a veterans honor flight trip to D.C. Pictures from that trip, were the first of many surprises for him Tuesday morning. Bromstead said, “It’s overwhelming, because my granddaughter said ‘we’re going to go to the park grandpa’ and I thought she meant we were going to look through our property and see if there was anything left in it.”

Congressman Walden said his granddaughter, “called the office the other day and said that her grandfather had lost everything.” Bromstead served in the Korean War from 1951-1955 as an AK 1 in the US Navy. Bromstead said, “I was lucky that I got through it with no problems.”

John says he was awarded the American Defense medal, the Korean medal, the United Nations medal, and the Good Conduct medal. Bromstead said, “they found a couple parts of my medals, the ribbons of course are gone, but the medals are there. The government can replace my medals which is good.”

With the help of Representatives Greg Walden and Steve Scalise, the Republican Whip from Louisiana, John was given photos from his D.C. trip, an American flag that’s flown over the nations capital, and several mementos from the veteran’s honor flight.

One thing lost forever in the fire was a plaque and medal sent to the men that served in Korea from the South Korean government. “That was a one of a kind thing. So I don’t think the defense department can replace that, because it wasn’t issued by our government,” said Bromstead. 

For now, the veteran is living with his granddaughter, because both his daughter and his great granddaughter also lost their homes in the fires. 

If you or someone you know is a veteran who lost their military documents, Congressman Walden said you can call 541-776-4646.

Madison LaBerge is the anchor of NBC5 News Weekends at 6 and 11. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Madison is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest. She can't get over "how green everything is!" When Madison is not at work, she looks for new and exciting cooking recipes and explores Southern Oregon. Feel free to send her story ideas or the address of your favorite Mexican food restaurant!
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