EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

April 27, 2013

Proud possessions restored

After robbers took Navy medals, veteran gets replacement set

An 88-year-old veteran of World War II whose war medals were stolen from his home last year has been given a new, authentic set to replace the originals.

Robert Wilbur of Amesbury, who fought with the Navy during World War II, received the seven replacement medals in recognition of his bravery and service from U.S. Rep. John Tierney, who procured the new medals from the Navy after Wilbur’s family reached out to his office in November.

The medals include the WWII Victory Medal, the Navy Conduct Medal and the Honorable Service pin.

Donna Wilbur Boulay, Robert’s daughter, said the family reached out to the Amesbury Veterans Affairs office after the medals were first stolen in October. Once the family was put in touch with Tierney, she said it took only about three months before the new medals were ready.

Wilbur initially wanted the medals mailed to him, but Boulay said Tierney put together an official ceremony, where he presented the medals to Wilbur in a frame last Friday.

“It was an honor to present Mr. Wilbur with the medals he bravely earned during his years of service as a submariner in the Navy,” Tierney said in a statement. “I am pleased that I was able to restore these medals which mark his acts of valor and want veterans across our area to know that my office can provide support in many similar matters.”

Wilbur first enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Amesbury High School in 1942. He completed submarine training in Newport, R.I., and went on to serve aboard the USS Flounder, USS Blackfin and USS Perch during the next four years.

While serving on submarine patrol, Wilbur traveled to Australia, New Guinea and Hawaii, places that he never would’ve seen otherwise as a small-town Amesbury boy, Boulay said. He couldn’t divulge his location to his family while on patrol for security reasons, but that didn’t stop him from trying to sneak a few hints into his letters home.

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