Ceremony held in Brooklyn to replace family's stolen service medals

ByMallory Hoff WABC logo
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Ceremony held in Brooklyn to replace family's stolen service medals
Mallory Hoff has the story.

FORT HAMILTON (WABC) -- 93-year-old Ann Byrne sang along as "God Bless America" echoed through an auditorium in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn.

Byrne is the only surviving sibling of Lieutenant Andrew Doyle, who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while flying a combat mission in 1944. Byrne's other brother, Hugh Patrick Doyle was killed in action in Germany. Byrne has been the keeper of the medals and their memory.

Both Lieutenant Doyle's medals, including two Purple Hearts were stolen from Byrne in a burglary four years ago. Now, they are being replaced.

"You never forget them, and you cherish them every day," Byrne says.

Byrne's daughter, Maureen O'Neil reached out to Congressman Dan Donovan to request replacement medals.

"When she realized they had been stolen, she was very sad, very sad her brother's medals were both stolen, because they had been engraved. Andrew's had never been engraved and so they were stolen," O'Neil says.

In a formal medal presentation ceremony, Congressman Dan Donovan and Brigadier General William Graham honored Lieutenant Doyle's sacrifice.

"Teresa Rodriguez from my office, worked with the Army to tirelessly replace these medals for this family as a representation of this man's heroism and commitment to our nation," said Congressman Donovan.

"I know what this family has gone through, and it's wonderful to be able as a part of the Fort Hamilton community as part of the Army family to be able to thank this family for their amazing sacrifices," says Brigadier General Graham.

As Veteran's Day approaches, Byrne cherishes the time shared with her brothers, veterans who will be remembered as a part of the greatest generation.

"I keep thinking back to when were young - we had happy times," Byrne says.