VFW restores lost collection of medals

Tuesday night, members of VFW Post 5443 in Kennett gathered to enjoy dinner and honor some very special guests. Tina Brown, Janice Roberts and Dave Roberts. Thirteen years ago, Tina Brown brought medals to Kennett Middle School to show her students. They belonged to her brother, Frankie Leon Priest, a Vietnam veteran who died in the line of duty. She wanted to share the story with her students. Somehow the medals ended up missing.VFW Post 5443 Commander Phillip Greenway heard the story and decided to do something about it. At the Veterans Day Assembly at Kennett Middle School, Greenway surprised Brown by having her escorted to a chair at the front of the assembly and having her take part in the ceremony. He told her that they had ordered medals to replace the ones that were lost. During her speech at the assembly, Brown admitted that she had kept the secret of the lost medals from her sister for nearly 13 years.

As Greenway began the presentation of the medals Tuesday, he shared some things about Priest. “Frankie Leon Priest was a Specialist 4 in the Army of the United States. His rank at time of death was E4. He was born Mar. 28 1946 and began his tour in Vietnam May 18, 1966. He died Nov. 19,1966, at only the age of 20. His body was recovered and sent home to his family. He served in the HHC, 1 BN, 14th Infantry, United States, Army Vietnam, and died while in service Nov. 19, 1966.”

Greenway urged everyone to remember a young man who lost his life in the fight for freedom. “As Americans, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who have secured our freedom and serve the national good. To those who served their families, the soldiers who gave their lives, and to all those who have answered a higher call, we salute you. May this day of stories, quotes, and prayers inspire all and point us to the one whose sacrifice brought us eternal life and liberty. Special Private Class 4 Frankie Leon Priest’s unwavering fortitude and resolve to protect the freedoms that are held dear by every American will forever impact our nation. His individual name may not be written on the pages of American History books but his spirit, sacrifice, and determination have written history and preserved freedom. We thank him for serving our country and our cause.”

Greenway then called on Janice Roberts and Tina Brown, who are both of Priest’s surviving sisters, and presented them with the medals and a flag. “I am sure at some point, they should have had a flag presented to them at the time of the funeral, but we wanted to make sure they had one.” Both were encased in cherry wood shadow boxes.

Priest was the recipient of several prestigious medals: the Purple Heart, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Brown and Roberts accepted the medals and flag and thanked VFW members for replacing something that was so dear to their family.

Source with photo – http://www.dddnews.com/story/2256257.html

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