PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — An American Legion Post got a surprise when a man dropped off the belongings of a Medal of Honor recipient.
It all happened when the man found those items in a storage shed he won by auction. The post is on their own mission now to reunite the belongings with the veteran’s family.
"They say Superman and Batman are superheroes, no. This gentleman was a superhero.”
Inside the American Legion Post 110, war stories from all walks of life are shared. But one story is getting a little more attention right now.
“A couple of weeks ago, I had a gentleman come into my American Legion Post 69 with a box," says Larry Roberts, American Legion Department of Florida VA Entitlements Chairman. "He told me he received this box at an auction. He went to a storage shed auction and discovered these items and inside these items was a box.”
And inside was the story of one Sergeant James Hendrix. Newspaper clippings, books, even old photographs detailing the history of a Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
“We don’t know how long these items have been in the storage shed so it’s so much history and respect that it was even put in a storage shed," says Roberts. "And the family had no idea about it.”
From one of those dated clippings, you get a brief glimpse into the life of Sergeant Hendrix. He was presented with the award for valor displayed on December 26, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.
He knocked out a German 99, two machine gun nests, captured 13 German prisoners, rescued a soldier from a burning half-track, and two from a blazing tank while under machine gun fire. Sixteen days later, on January 11, he was wounded once by mortar fire and twice by a German sniper.
“We were just so admonished by his humbleness and just wanting to serve others.”
Deanna Hall, Vice Commander of District 13, recounts the time she met Sergeant Hendrix when he visited their post in Lehigh Acres.
“What stood out to me was to be more humble and to listen to other veterans," she says. "That really brought out the service in me and to be more of a listener.”
The man who dropped off the items has remained anonymous. But, after a few phone calls, the family has been found. And soon those items will be going back to their rightful owners.
“It just makes it real for that family and then they can tell their friends and their friends," said Hall. "It makes it more of a real story, especially for America today.”
“The daughter was crying," says Roberts. "She goes, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you!’ And she goes, ‘I had no idea these items were in a storage shed’ and she can’t thank us enough.”
Those items will be returned to Sergeant Hendrix’s family. American legion Post 69 in Avon Park will be hosting a special ceremony for Hendrix’s family on July 16.