Medal of Honor

April  02, 2013

After a long search, a Moline woman has finally received a replacement medal for her brother's heroism during the Korean War. Late this afternoon, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin presented a Medal of Honor to Sylvia Rich during a ceremony on Arsenal Island. 

In September of 1950, 18-year-old Melvin Brown almost single-handedly defended his company during an attack by North Korean soldiers. He died soon afterwards and his family later received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman.  Sylvia Rich was just 12 years old at the time of Melvin Brown's death, and has very warm memories of her brother.

The medal was lost in the intervening years, but Rich was able to track it down five years ago when she received a computer and entered her brother's name. Somehow the damaged medal ended up in the hands of a jeweler in Philadelphia who saw her post online and returned it in 2008.

Rich then began trying to replace the broken medal but had no luck until she talked to a case worker from Senator Durbin's office.  She may keep this in the two rooms in her house she's dedicated to her brother's memory, with pictures, newspaper articles, and plaques.  Rich says it's nice to have her brother's medal but it can never replace him.