Decorated Longmont Vietnam Vet Recovers Medals Lost to the Flood
In the devastating floods that rocked Boulder County five years ago, much was lost.
Individuals and families across the region were robbed of things both replaceable and not, from heirlooms to photos to even their homes.
Richard Loucks was one of those people.
A Vietnam veteran who served in the 101st Airborne from 1967 to 1969, he came home with not only a lot of keepsakes; he came home with, as Gene Schiferl of American Legion Post 32 put it, “a chest full of medals.”
During the historic 2013 floods, the entire lower level of his house near Longmont’s Twin Peals Golf Course was washed away, along with everything that he cherished inside, including three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a host of other medals awarded for his bravery in combat.
Saturday, on the eve of this year’s Veterans Day, he got them back.
In a surprise ceremony organized by his children, the symbols of his selflessness and bravery were finally returned to him.
After contacting Sen. Cory Gardner’s office, Loucks’ daughter, Stacy Loucks, said that within a year the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs was able to have the medals re-issued.
“He got on it right away, especially when he heard that my dad had three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star,” said Kit Loucks, Richard Loucks’ son.
After that, she and her brother were just waiting for the right time to present them.
Saturday’s event at American Legion Post 32 in Longmont provided the perfect opportunity.
The post was conducting an event to honor Vietnam era veterans and provide them with pins commemorating their service, and afterward, Stacy Loucks got up and gave speech.
“Growing up with a Vietnam veteran as a dad was pretty awesome for my brother and me,” she said. “We had the most thrilling, exciting and funny bedtime stories, they were all filled with adventure and danger.”
She talked about how her father would put her and her brother on “night-patrol” if they couldn’t fall asleep, guaranteeing that they would.
“Dad lived his life peacefully with honor and dignity, quietly carrying the burden of his battles,” she said. “Unfortunately my dad, just as I’m sure, many of you in this room tonight, have never received the recognition that you fully deserve.”
Concluding her heartfelt speech, she said, “So, Dad, here is your Bronze Star, your Purple Hearts and all of the medals and honors you earned for your combat service.”
Richard Loucks then came to the front of the room and received what was ripped from him years ago, then embraced his daughter lovingly.
Coincidentally, he said that he was just discussing his old keepsakes earlier that day, when he was trying to find some old photos from Vietnam and couldn’t.
Though when asked how it felt to finally get his medals back, he simply responded in a calm andcontended manner: “Pretty good.”