Probation officer retrieves vet’s stolen medals

When Frederick C. Sylvia Jr., of Achusnet, Mass., died five years ago next month, an honor guard played “Taps” and presented an American flag to his family, a fitting tribute to a man who fought with Gen. Patton in World War II.

But his son couldn’t stop thinking about the medals — especially the Victory Medal — that he’d promised his dad he’d be buried with. He didn’t have the heart to tell him in his dad’s last days that they’d been stolen.

A worker at an assisted-living facility had looted them.

The people involved were arrested, prosecuted and convicted. Fred Sylvia, the elder Sylvia’s only child, wrote a victim’s impact statement describing his dad’s desire to be buried with the medals. And that was that. Life went on.

Until a probation officer named Mark Costa found the letter in a file several years later. He’s a veteran.

So he reached out to the local veterans services office and his request worked its way up the bureaucracy, which still can have a heart and a warm spot for old-timers.

Yesterday, Mark Costa got on a plane for Florida, where Sylvia’s son has retired.

And today, he’ll get his father’s medals, the Boston Globe reports.

“This is just too personal for me to ship them down by mail,” Costa tells the Fall River Herald News.