PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – An American Legion post got a surprise when a man dropped off the belongings of a Medal of Honor recipient.
It all happened when the man found these items in a storage shed which he won at auction. The post now has a mission to reunite assets with the veteran’s family.
“They say Superman and Batman are superheroes, no. This gentleman was a superhero.”
Inside American Legion Post 110, war stories from all walks of life are shared. But one story is getting a little more attention right now.
“A few weeks ago a gentleman came into my American Legion Post 69 with a box,” says Larry Roberts, rights chair for the American Legion Department of Florida VA. “He told me he had received this box at an auction. He went to an auction of a storage shed and discovered these items and inside these items was a box.
And inside was the story of a certain Sergeant James Hendrix. Newspaper clippings, books, even old photographs detailing the story of a Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
“We don’t know how long these items have been in the storage shed, so it’s so much history and respect that they were even placed in a storage shed,” Roberts says. “And the family had no idea.”
From one of these dated clippings, you get a brief glimpse into Sergeant Hendrix’s life. He received the bravery award displayed on December 26, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.
He knocked out a German 99, two machine gun nests, captured 13 German prisoners, saved one soldier from a burning half-track and two from a burning tank while under machine gun fire. Sixteen days later, on January 11, he was wounded once by mortar fire and twice by a German sniper.
“We were so warned by his humility and our desire to serve others.”
Deanna Hall, Vice Commander of District 13, recounts the time she met Sergeant Hendrix while visiting their post in Lehigh Acres.
“What stood out to me was being more humble and listening to other veterans,” she says. “It really brought out the service in me and to be more in tune.”
The man who dropped off the items remained anonymous. But, after a few phone calls, the family was found. And soon these objects will return to their rightful owners.
“It just makes it real to that family and then they can tell their friends and their friends,” Hall said. “It makes it more of a real story, especially for America today.”
“The girl was crying,” Roberts said. “She says, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you!’ And she says, “I didn’t know these items were in a storage shed” and she can’t thank us enough.
These items will be returned to Sergeant Hendrix’s family. The Post 69 American Legion in Avon Park will hold a special ceremony for Hendrix’s family on July 16.