The VFW Post 4464 Honor Guard led Congressman Johnson and Mr. Cox into the ceremony. Michelle Miller/photo

In an informal ceremony held Saturday at the Gallipolis VFW Post 4464, U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson returned the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon to Vietnam veteran Army Sgt. Warner Cox, whose medals were stolen six years ago during a move.

Mr. Cox discusses his Purple Heart medal with Congressman Johnson. Michelle Miller/photo

The return of the medals was initiated by Cox’s son-in-law and daughter, Brian and Sara Dodge. Brian, who works in Jackson, originally contacted the Jackson Vietnam Veterans of America office and was referred to Congressman Johnson’s office to assist in replacing the medals.

From there, Congressman Johnson’s office worked with the U.S. Army and facilitated the return of the medals to Mr. Cox. “It’s just one of the few things that we’re able to smile about,” said Congressman Johnson. “We’ve got a lot of issues in our country to deal with, but taking care of our veterans is one of the most pleasant parts of this job. And I take it very seriously being a 27 year veteran myself.”

As for having the medals returned to him, Mr. Cox said he was flattered and honored.

“They bring back memories. Some are pleasant. Some are not,” he said.

Mr. Cox with his medals. Michelle Miller/photo

Mr. Cox said he was proud to be an American and a veteran and would do it all over again, if needed. Referencing the Lee Greenwood song “God Bless the USA” he said, “I’m proud to be an American. Which I know I’m free. I’d plainly stand up again and fight alongside of you or anybody for America.”

Mr. Cox served in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1969, served two tours in Vietnam and was injured during his second tour. According to the release from Congressman Johnson’s office, he was injured during a bombing, and while he was severely injured himself, he carried a friend to a medical tent.

During the ceremony, prior to presenting the medals, Congressman Johnson told Mr. Cox, “Warner, you served your nation well. We’re glad you’re home. Welcome home.”

In response, Mr. Cox simply said, “I’m just glad to be home.”