By Jeff Todd
LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Rich Loucks wasn’t sure why his kids were so adamant to go to the Longmont Vietnam Veteran’s pinning ceremony, but he didn’t think twice about the celebration.
“About the time I saw my daughter get up I thought, ‘Uh oh, I’m the guy,’” Loucks said. “I was quite shocked. It was very touching and emotional. It was great.”
At the end of the ceremony, Loucks’s children presented him with a shadow box containing the medals he earned in Vietnam. They were replacement medals for the ones lost during the 2013 floods.
“The doors were broken and torn off. Stuff like that,” Loucks said about the damage. “I was just hoping the upper level wouldn’t get hit.”
Everything in Loucks’ basement was destroyed — precious scrapbooks, furniture, and invaluable keepsakes. When a cleaning crew came to clean out the damaged basement boxes, Louck’s military uniform, letters he sent home, and medals he earned were thrown away.
“I did have all of the letters my mother kept, you know. And those were one of the things I wanted to read. I hadn’t done it yet, and I wanted to go back and re-read it all,” he said.
Loucks was drafted in August 1967 and six months later was in Vietnam. He was injured three times including stepping on a booby trap that caused him to lose his right eye.
On Saturday, at the American Legion Post 32, Louck’s kids presented him the Purple Heart and Bronze Star he’d been missing for five years. They’d worked with Sen. Cory Gardner and the Veteran’s Administration to get new medals issued.
“They went through a lot of work to get it done, and I really appreciate it. I’m not a very emotional guy all the time, but it was quite emotional.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.