Lost medals found in Lakeland after 48 years, returned to Vietnam War veteran

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tennessee Vietnam War veteran has waited decades to hold his war medals.

In 1967, David McCloud was on leave when he learned he would be receiving a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Vietnam Service medal, all engraved with his name. He couldn’t make it to the ceremony, but was assured someone would collect them for him.

He never saw them.

“I got the certificates, but I never ever got the medals,” McCloud said.

A few years later, a Tennessee Congressman made sure he got replacements, however, they did not have his name engraved on them.

Fast forward 48 years later, when he received news that the medals he never thought he would see, were found.

The three war medals had turned up in a donation box at Talbet House Ministries, a Lakeland homeless shelter.

“It was bothering me because I felt like it belonged in a better place than a donation box. I was very concerned,” said Nancy Jorgensen, a nurse volunteering at the shelter.

“I wanted to make sure whoever had them got them back, or their family got them back.”

Jorgensen said she has a long line of military in her family, so she made it her mission to track down McCLoud.

“I went on a lot of military sites, I tried to look up some of the websites that list of names of people who are enrolled, couldn’t find anything. I finally stumbled on a YouTube video he had made.”

Finally, the medals were on the way to Tennessee where this war hero can proudly display them.

“It’s just amazing. I mean strange things happen, but I’ve never been near Lakeland, Florida. So it was such a mystery how it could’ve gotten there,” McCloud said. “You can’t imagine after 48 years. I can’t express how grateful I am. I can’t thank them enough.”

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