WASHINGTON – Here’s a harsh reminder that yellow ribbons and care packages aren’t always enough support for the troops: A soldier on leave from Afghanistan walked into a Michigan consignment shop last week to pawn a Purple Heart to help cover his Christmas bills. From the Holland Sentinel:
The medal, which was sold in November by a West Michigan man serving in the military, now sits in a case at A-Z Outlet, a pawn shop on North River Avenue owned by Bryan VandenBosch. “He was falling on hard times,” VandenBosch said of the sale. “He said the same thing everybody else who comes in here says. He was short on funds.”
The man, who declined a Sentinel request to be interviewed, told VandenBosch he was shot while serving in Afghanistan and the Purple Heart he sold was one of two he had earned while serving overseas.
Veterans groups and other local charities have been flooding the store with donation requests in the days since the story broke, but the owner has been directing them to other military support programs. He said he has no intention of selling the medal to someone else, and will simply keep it safe until its rightful owner returns.