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Vietnam veteran receives missing medals with help from Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids

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Posted at 4:24 PM, Mar 15, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jerry and Markanna Goff know it’s the little things that can be most significant, like moments you can look back on that show life’s accomplishments through heirlooms, photos, or medals.

“It’s important, you know," Markanna Goff said.

Jerry Goff was awarded medals for his service in the Vietnam War, but they went missing.

The medals were from 50 years ago.

Goff said his mother had them when he moved out of state for a bit.

After his mom moved a couple times and then went to a nursing home, he assumes they got thrown out at some point.

"The process of everything, me not being there, I think they just went to the trash, or somebody didn’t know what they were," Jerry Goff said.

Jerry Goff said he tried for over a year to get them back, and after seeing no progress, he contacted Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids’ office for help.

From there, Davids' office and the Goff's worked with the U.S. Army, the National Archives, and the Department of Defense to successfully get his awards back.

Jerry Goff said it was his goal to get them back so he could show his family.

“To show my grandchildren; I wanted them to see what I did, and sometime when I go, they can have them and they can say, 'Hey, this is what my grandpa did,'" Goff said.

On Friday, Davids returned the medals to the Goff's.

"I feel honored to get the chance to do this with you," she said. "We worked really hard to recover Mr. Goff’s missing medals."

Davids told Jerry Goff, "Thank you for all you’ve done. I reached out to the VA over a year ago, but could never get anywhere, but you in 45 days got what I couldn’t get in over a year."

Davids' team helped recover seven missing awards.

  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Army Commendation Medal
  • Expert Rifle
  • Good Conduct Medal

Davids said it’s the constituent services that she’s recently focused on, closing 1,600 cases, from missing tax filings to delayed passports.
“We put that really at the top of our priority list,” she said.

Jerry Goff showed his gratitude for the help.

“Representatives are there for the people and I really appreciate it," he said. "Just caring about the little things in life like medals, it's important.”

Jerry Goff joined the U.S. Army in September of 1969 and was discharged in 1972, achieving the rank of SPEC-4/E-4.

He attended basic training at Fort Campbell Kentucky and went on to Fort Gordon for his Advanced Infantry Training.

Upon completion of A.I.T., he was deployed to various places in Vietnam over a span of 18 months (Duc Pho, Dong Ha/DMZ, Chu Lia).