By Scott Faughn
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The House Veterans Committee unanimously passed legislation today sponsored by Rep. Vicki Englund, D-St. Louis County, that would help return lost military medals to their owners. The committee passed the bill by consent on the final day committees can pass consent bills this session.
Englund’s bill would authorize the State Treasurer to make specified information — other than Social Security numbers — available to the public regarding military medals that have been deemed to be abandoned property to result in the identification of the original owner medal recipient or his or her heirs or beneficiaries. The State Treasurer can designate a veterans’ organization or other appropriate organization as custodian of military medals until the original owner or their respective heirs or beneficiaries are located.
“I am excited today that we will be able to give back to Veterans who have heroically served our country,” Englund said. “Returning lost military medals to their rightful owners and heirs is the least we can do to again say ‘thank you.’”
She added that HB702 allows the Treasurer’s office to treat the owners of the military medals with “the honor and respect they deserve.”
“I am grateful to Rep. Englund for sponsoring this bill and helping me honor the service of Missouri veterans,” State Treasurer Clint Zweifel said. “I have returned 32 military medals since 2009. HB 702 gives me the tools to ensure the remaining 96 medals, and all those I receive in the future, are returned to the heroes who earned them.”
Kent Dyer, a Vietnam veteran from Poplar Bluff, remarked on the sentiment behind the legislation, saying he’s glad someone in Jefferson City is looking out for Missouri heroes.
“Those medals were earned in defense of this country and everything should be done to return them to their rightful owners,” he said. “What a fine idea.”
The legislation will head to the House Rules Committee for a vote next. If passed, it will then proceed to the House Floor for further discussion. Several Republican members have already pledged support.