Phoenix Police Officers Replace Vietnam Veteran’s Plaques After They’re Stolen Out of Garage

by Amy Myers

At a bagel shop over coffee, two Phoenix police officers made this Vietnam veteran and former National Security Agency employee’s day. After someone stole Addie Paul’s two commemorative plaques for his service from his garage storage space, the officers decided to replace them. Although the new plaques might not hold the same sentimental value as the originals, the gesture showed just how much respect and care they had for the former soldier.

Last week, Paul reported his two plaques missing from his garage to the Phoenix police department. One plaque honored his service with the Special Army Intelligence Operation in 1967 in South Vietnam. The other commemorated his 36 years working with the NSA. Outside of his awards, Paul also served in the US Army in various countries overseas, including Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Back in the States, he worked in the Department of Defense at the Pentagon and White House.

Surely, the Vietnam veteran must have been confused over the loss of his two plaques. The awards themselves wouldn’t have much value. After all, they both had Paul’s name and service inscribed. Likely, the crooks thought they could hawk it a pawn shop, but it’s doubtful they saw more than a few bucks for them. Needless to say, Paul hoped to have them safely returned.

Sadly, this wasn’t probable. Police still haven’t found the crooks who broke into the Vietnam veteran’s garage. And even if they did, they likely wouldn’t have the plaques anymore. However, this didn’t stop Officer Craig Walker and Sergeant Brian Wood from honoring the hero themselves.

Vietnam Veteran Expresses Appreciation for Police Officers’ Gesture

When Officer Walker came to the Vietnam veteran’s home to ask for his statement, the Phoenix police officer knew that without any surveillance of the crooks, there wasn’t much chance of them or the plaques. But instead of letting the story end there, the officer decided to create a happy ending for Paul. Along with his supervisor, Sergeant Wood, Walker invited the veteran for coffee at an Einsteins Bros Bagel shop. Thinking the officers were simply offering their condolences, Paul agreed.

Once at the bagel shop, the Phoenix police officers presented him with two new wooden plaques to replace the stolen ones. The plaques even had the same circular shape as the old ones. The officers told Paul that the gifts were a token of their appreciation for the sacrifices the Vietnam veteran made for his country. In response, Paul wrote to his local news station to give the compassionate officers the attention they deserved for the kind gesture.

“I’m sure this act of kindness is but one of many performed, without recognition, every day,” Paul wrote. “These folks deserve our appreciation. We, the citizens of Phoenix, are very fortunate to have them in our service.”