Stolen war medals returned to WWII veteran's widow - New York News

Stolen war medals returned to WWII veteran's widow

Posted: Updated:

He fought for his country in WWII only to have his war medals stolen during a burglary -- but now, the Minnesota man's commendations are back in the right hands.

Roger Neis was the kind of guy history books are written about -- a veteran of both the Philippine and U.S. armies. He died in 2007, but a burglar broke into his widow's home nearly a year and a half ago and stole his combat medals. In doing so, the thief took more than a family's memories. He also took part of their souls.

"My dad meant everything to me," Nikki Neis told FOX 9 News, Roger's daughter.

Roger Neis was much more than a father. He was an American hero. As a private in the U.S. Army, he was stationed in the Philippines in 1942 when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded the islands, cutting off and starving the American and Philippine armies on the Bataan Peninsula to force their surrender.

The 60-mile march the troops made to a prisoner of war camp is now known as the Bataan Death March. Roger Neis barely survived.

"His legs were so badly beaten he would never wear shorts or anything in the summertime," Nikki Neis recalled. "He was so ashamed of his scars that he never wanted to show them."

After the war, the United States Army decorated Roger Neis for his valor and bravery during the death march -- but a burglar took those military honors in 2012. Once the culprit was caught and jailed, the medals were already gone. That is, until last month.

"The lawyer brought this case and these medals," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. "So, it's my absolute privilege and delight to give Nikki her father's medals."

Among the medals is a Bronze Star and two oak leaf clusters, which are among the Army's highest honors. Now, they are back in the hands of a family wanting to hold onto the memory of a man whose life and experience still lives on.

"I'm so proud of my dad and everything he accomplished in life," Nikki Neis said. "To have this to hand down to my son -- and also to teach my son and my children what people have had to go through to serve this country so they have the rights ... of American Citizens.

Join our Facebook family

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • MTA, union reach deal for transit workers

    MTA, union reach deal for transit workers

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:09 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:09:38 GMT
    Transit officials and the union representing about 34,000 city subway and bus workers reached a tentative contract deal that would include raises and new benefits but require higher health insurance payments, both sides and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
    Transit officials and the union representing about 34,000 city subway and bus workers reached a tentative contract deal that would include raises and new benefits but require higher health insurance payments, both sides and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
  • Dance raves for kids at NYC's hot clubs

    Dance raves for kids at NYC's hot clubs

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:21:39 GMT
    A dance party for kids and tweens looks like a rave or perhaps a wild night at the club. But actually, many of the people at this party probably just learned how to tie their shoes. Twin brothers Tyler and Tristin recently had a FUZIPOP party in Manhattan to celebrate their 10th birthday. Never heard of a FUZIPOP party?
    A dance party for kids and tweens looks like a rave or perhaps a wild night at the club. But actually, many of the people at this party probably just learned how to tie their shoes. Twin brothers Tyler and Tristin recently had a FUZIPOP party in Manhattan to celebrate their 10th birthday. Never heard of a FUZIPOP party?
  • Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:05:09 GMT
    Jayson WilliamsJayson Williams
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the federal prosecutor investigating political payback allegations involving the Republican's administration are both set to speak at a prisoner re-entry conference on Thursday.
    Former NBA player Jayson Williams says trying to re-enter society after serving time for shooting a limousine driver was more difficult than being in prison.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices