The Tribune-Democrat: Missing Vietnam Medals Presented to One Veteran, Another's Family
SOUTH FORK -- There were two very different reasons why Eugene Migut and Ronald Krupa spent decades without the military medals they earned in Vietnam.
Krupa, a member of the U.S. Army, never received the honors due to him.
Migut at one time owned his decorations, but his son, Michael Migut, explained with a bit of a smile: "He wanted to forget about Vietnam and he actually buried all these medals when our dog passed away."
On Wednesday, Krupa and Migut's family received the medals from U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, during a ceremony at South Fork VFW Post 7524.
"One of the greatest honors members of Congress have is to present medals to men or women who served our nation in uniform, who take time away from their families, from their communities, standing for freedom, standing for liberty and standing for this country," Rothfus said.
"To be able to acknowledge and recognize them, on behalf of a grateful nation, in presenting these medals, it's a real incredible privilege for me to do that."
Migut, a Johnstown resident who earned a Purple Heart during his time in the Army, died in 2012.
Family members represented him at the ceremony.
"It was bringing back a lot of memories, for one thing, and all he went through -- and what he went through when he came back was almost as bad as what he did over there when he served," said Eugene Migut's widow, Margie Migut. "It means a lot. When he came back, he was really down. They were against the Vietnam War, a lot of people. He went through a lot when he came back."
Michael Migut added: "My dad, he was a proud American and a proud soldier, but he would have never liked this. He didn't want any recognition for what he did over there in Vietnam. He kept it to himself.
"But for us, as a family, we were proud and honored, especially today, to get this recognition. It means a lot. It makes you proud to be an American."
Krupa, a 1964 graduate of Johnstown High School, received six decorations during the ceremony, including the National Defense Service Medal.
"It feels real good," Krupa said. "I really never gave a thought about having them, but I'd like my daughter (to have them)."