Thomas Faleskie served in the US Marine Corps for nearly 25 years, and was awarded multiple medals for his service in the Vietnam war. But when a burglar ransacked his home in Spotsylvania, Virginia last year, they took all of his medals, ribbons, and pilot’s wings with them, leaving Faleskie without his cherished mementos.
That’s where Detective Frank Corona stepped in. Corona, also a Marine veteran, worked on Faleskie’s burglary case and took it upon himself to ensure that Faleskie wasn’t left without the medals he sacrificed so much to earn.
Corona was able to identify the suspects in the robbery, and was able to recover many of Faleskie’s stolen material possessions at local pawn shops, but the medals and ribbons were nowhere to be found.
Instead of giving up, Corona and his supervisor, also a Marine, teamed up to get those awards replaced, using a special company in North Carolina to replicate the medals, ribbons, and pilot’s wings.
The two then organized a ceremony, invited local marines, and presented the replicas, showcased in a shadowbox, to Faleskie on Friday, September 25th, just before his 84th birthday.
“I’m still in a state of shock because I never expected this, and I still can’t believe it happened, but I’m very happy,” Faleskie told CNN.
“Usually that’s what you expect from a fellow Marine, is total support and a bond of friendship,” Faleskie said.
Three people were arrested for the robbery and all three pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and grand larceny.