KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

Lost War Medals Reunite Veteran's Families



Bookmark and Share

In closets, attics and basements of homes across the country, hidden treasures lie untouched, gathering dust.

On Veteran's Day a story of the lost, being found: two Sioux Empire men, who died for our country almost 70 years ago, are now being remembered for their sacrifice. Now, their story is now being told to a whole new generation who never even knew they existed.

The tight rapping of a snare drum and the wavering of our nation's flag mark a homecoming reunion, seven decades in the making.

Over a year ago, Jon Strupp of Minneapolis was introduced, by a fellow commuter on that bus, to some war medals that had been forgotten in a storage facility. A conversation started, and soon he was looking for the family they belonged to.

"I'm just used to the research part and I had to have the answer," said Jon Strupp.

After months of research, he found the rightful owner, Fred Baker, a young man killed in action during World War II in France at just 23 years old. The findings came as a shock to his family members.

"I had no idea what it was all about. It all unfolded so fast,"said Mike Gehrke, the great nephew of Fred Baker

But this story doesn't stop there; Fred was friends with LaVerne Stackhouse.

“They were more like brothers, really,"said Bev Winter.

Bev remembers LaVerne fondly.

“He was very handsome,"said Winter.

They were friends in Sioux Falls and served together in France. LaVerne was killed France, only two weeks after his close friend.

Now, in a way, they're being reunited once again. A year later, the Journey is complete; from a storage facility in Minnesota, returned back to Volga.

Fred and LaVerne both received the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. Those medals, among their other military honors, are being put on display, together, so their story can educate future generations.

“I don't think they would think they were heroes at all, they were just a Band of Brothers," said Gehrke.

"I think it's great, I've noticed in the newspapers that there is more of this going on,"said Winter.

“Us old Veterans, we don't shed tears, we just shed tears in humility, it humbles you, that's one thing about being a veteran, it humbles you,"said Gehrke.

A few notes from a trumpet, a handful of salutes, and a procession of colors, marking the reunion of two friends, and an emotional story of the ultimate sacrifice for generations to come.

If you'd like to view Laverne and Fred's medals or learn more about the men of the Sioux Empire who served our country, you can visit the Brookings County Museum in Volga every day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >
     

Formerly Unstable Deadwood Building Has New Life

A century-old Deadwood building that was in danger of collapsing a few years ...

Beresford Girl Wins Trip To The White House   story with video

First Lady Michelle Obama hosted her Third Annual Kids' State Dinner on Friday at ...

City Leaders Learn More About 'Ripple Effect'   story with video

Hundreds of thousands of dollars could be on the line, if it is determined ...

Fulton Woman's Death Not Suspicious   Jul. 22

SBA Reaches Out To Storm Victims  story with video  Jul. 22

City Inspecting Sump Pumps In SF Homes  story with video  Jul. 22

Sioux Falls Written Into Hit Television Show  story with video  Jul. 22

Wal-Mart Prepping for Sioux Falls Opening  Jul. 22

City Of Lead Establishes Parks Improvement Fund  Jul. 22

Rebels Release Bodies  story with video  Jul. 22

Rapid City Officials Say Campfire Started Blaze  Jul. 22

Terror Threats: 10 Years Later  story with video  Jul. 22

Fruit Sold At Sam's Club, Costco Recalled  Jul. 22

Update: RAGBRAI Rider Dies In Northern Iowa  Jul. 22

Man Pleads Guilty In Fatal New Year's Crash  Jul. 22

Sioux Falls Police, Fire Rescue Hiring  Jul. 22

ND Wants Specifics On Backlogged Grain Shipments  Jul. 22

Update: Pierre Swimming Pool Reopens After Evacuation  Jul. 22

Shannon County Name Change Proposal OK'd For Vote  Jul. 22

FX Series "Fargo" Will Be Set In Sioux Falls  Jul. 22

KDLT News Archive
     

FX Series "Fargo" Will Be Set In Sioux Falls

The FX network is planning a second season of "Fargo" ...

Update: RAGBRAI Rider Dies In Northern Iowa

A participant in an annual bicycle ride across Iowa has died ...

Sioux Falls Written Into Hit Television Show  story with video

The hit show “Fargo” on the FX network has ...

City Inspecting Sump Pumps In SF Homes  story with video  Jul. 22

Fruit Sold At Sam's Club, Costco Recalled  Jul. 22

Wal-Mart Prepping for Sioux Falls Opening  Jul. 22

Fulton Woman's Death Not Suspicious   Jul. 22

City Leaders Learn More About 'Ripple Effect'   story with video  Jul. 22

KDLT News Archive
     

Donohue's 67 highlights final day at State Junior Golf  story with video

University of Arizona bound Max Donohue of Sioux Falls fired a blistering ...

Tuesday's Legion Region recap  story with video

Watertown and Brookings will meet Wednesday in the winner's bracket of Region 1-A in Watertown with the winner ...

SDSU names Wood new softball coach

South Dakota State director of athletics Justin Sell announced on Tuesday ...

Birds fall at St. Paul  Jul. 21

Tough day for Spirit Lake and Lemars at state softball  story with video  Jul. 21

Ed Moses sets example for local swimmers  story with video  Jul. 21

Madison Tops Dell Rapids Twice For Region Title  story with video  Jul. 20

Dakota Schoolers Win Pentagon Summer Slam  story with video  Jul. 20

KDLT Sports Stories
     
Back To Top