FORT WORTH -- Even the picture that shows a chest decorated with medals doesn’t adequately describe the sacrifices of Army veteran Sgt. Louis Read in World War II.
“During the conflict, he was bayoneted by a Japanese soldier," recalled Sen. John Cornyn while sharing stories of Read. "And instead of giving up or going to get help, he stuffed a part of his shirt into the hole and just kept fighting”.
Read was also injured by shrapnel and hurt when a bullet hit his helmet, but his story of survival didn’t end there.
“He was captured in the Philippines and forced to march on the infamous Bataan Death March, surviving 12 days without water," said friend Sgt. Paul Reed. "And at war's end, he was rescued from slave labor in a nickel mine near Tokyo.”
So many decades after he served for the United States with distinction, it served him back on Saturday. Copies of all his medals, including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, were presented to Read’s widow and the rest of his surviving family. It made right a deed so wrong.
In June, thieves broke into a storage shed at the Fort Worth home of Read’s daughter, Phyllis Wood. She said they took uniforms and medals, which were precious items that became his family’s connection to him after he died in 2011.
Honored to help return the stolen medals of WWII vet SGT Read to his family today in Fort Worth pic.twitter.com/OjRS4FTx6T— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 3, 2016
“When I look at his uniform or touch it, it reminds me of him," Wood said. "When it was stolen, it was like he died again."
Cornyn saw News 8's story on the theft and called on the Department of Defense to reissue the medals.
“The idea that someone could steal those, take those from you and steal that object of affection of memory is tragic," he said. "So it’s great to be able to replace these medals and return them to their rightful owner.”
The senator said moment such as this are one of the best parts of his job.
“When you lose a personality like my dad, there's a hole there forever," Wood said. "But we have his memories, and we have his medals and we can look at them and we can remember him.”
(© 2016 WFAA)