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Purple Heart recipient’s military tribute stolen from Colorado porch

Veteran of D-Day, Okinawa recalls fight with PTSD as he prepares to travel back to Normandy

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Purple Heart recipient’s military tribute stolen from Colorado porch

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A disabled veteran and Purple Heart recipient is devastated after finding his proud military display missing from his porch.

For years, a battle cross sat on Joel Hunt’s front porch in Denver, Colorado. It consisted of a fake gun mounted in concrete, a military helmet and a pair of military boots. But on Saturday morning, it disappeared.

“I was pulling out [of the driveway], and next thing I know, there were Army boots in the middle of the street,” Hunt told Denver affiliate KDVR. “And I’m like, ‘Those kinda look familiar.’ So, I looked and, sure enough, they stole the whole thing.”

The thieves may have left the boots behind, but the gun and the helmet were nowhere to be found. Hunt told KDVR he wore that helmet during his third tour of Iraq. It was there, on May 31, 2006, he lost a good friend.

“When he died, I couldn’t stop bawling,” Hunt said. “I’ll never forget that day. That was the worst day of my life.”

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He brought the helmet he was wearing that tragic day back with him, to help him remember what his friend sacrificed for his country.

“It was just heartbreaking that the symbol, it got stolen from my house,” Hunt said.

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Hunt also suffered a traumatic brain injury while in Iraq, leaving him with double vision and slurred speech.

“I wore that [helmet] during a situation … and now it’s gone,” he said.

Hunt thinks kids took the items without knowing the consequences.

“Pretty sure they looked at it and were like, ‘Oh, it’s a free gun. We got to get it,'” Hunt said.

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Hunt didn’t waste any time after the theft. He spent the next few days building a new one, including a fake gun and a helmet he bought online, and the new battle cross is now chained to his front porch. He told KDVR he felt compelled to replace the battle cross for his “comrades that didn’t come home.”

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No matter who stole the gun and helmet, the only justice Hunt is looking for is the swift return of his prized possessions. But, he had a strong message for the troublemakers.

“Just do me a favor from this time on out: Just remember that there are men and women that are dying every day to keep us free and to protect us so that you don’t have to go and do it,” Hunt said.

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It is still unknown who took the battle cross items.

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