Restored Military Medals Reveal Local Veteran's Accomplishments
Years after his service ended, an Illinois veteran's family received his medals from World War II this weekend, replacing ones that were stolen from him.
It's the tale of a man who served in World War II for three years, then returned home to his family with few details to share about his experiences.
"He never said anything too much about the war," said his daughter, Annette Diederich.
"Dad never really talked much about all of this. We were always proud of him, but he just considered this a job," said his son, Dan Diederich.
It was a job that meant so much to Eugene Diederich that he decided to take most of the details to his grave.
Once he was buried last April, his family says that's when they made the discovery.
"We didn't even know about the medals until we had to provide his discharge papers so we could be buried at the Arsenal," said his daughter, Deborah Beauchamp.
They are papers family members say they never read that showed Eugene Diederich was awarded five medals during the war ranging from good conduct for his service to the Marksman Badge for being skilled when using weapons.
Those medals are something for a long time his family knew nothing about.
They now say they were in a bag that was stolen years ago.
The family asked for the help of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who delivered and brought Diederich's accomplishments to light by re-issuing the medals to the family.
"Now they have this tangible feeling that this is what our dad/husband accomplished while in World War II," said Rep. Bustos (D-IL) said.
The medals are shining light on the many achievements of one humble man that served for our country.
"I'm glad he got the recognition that he deserved that he never wanted," said Kevin Diederich.
Family members say the medals will stay at Diederich's house with their mother. She'll frame and preserve them.