A World War II Navy nurse lost her medals after the war. She thought she'd never see them again but Honor Flight Austin made it happen.
On Friday, Honor Flight Austin paid a visit to WWII veteran Lillian Stein. To Stein, the visit was surprise enough but little did she know much more was in store.
The 94-year-old was a Navy nurse who served from 1943-48. Before a crowd of friends at her retirement community, Stein spoke about her time in Guam during the war.
"It was a time of our country that we were unified and all together against a common enemy and everybody did their part and this just happened to be mine," said Stein.
Last weekend, Stein went to D.C. with Honor Flight Austin to see her memorial for the first time.
"It was a phenomenal trip I can assure you," said Stein.
It was during that trip when Honor Flight Austin Chair Allen Bergeron learned Stein lost the three medals she was given for her service.
Within days of returning to Austin, Bergeron contacted a medal collector who happened to have all of them. After asking everyone to stand, Stein was once again presented with her medals.
"It's an honor to present to Lt. Stein the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and lastly the WWII Victory Medal. Ladies and gentlemen lets give her a round of applause," said Bergeron. "You will never be forgotten Mrs. Stein."
"I'm speechless. I can't explain how I feel," Stein replied.
Two colonels from the Texas Military Forces were in attendance.
"Mrs. Stein, I'd like to thank you for your service. On behalf of the all women in the military I thank you because we are here serving because of what you did in the past. You may think you just had a little piece of the pie, but what you did is why we're able to serve today," said Col. Tracy Norris.
And with that, friends thanked her for her service. Among them, was her youngest son.
"This was so much more than we could've hoped for," said Paul Stein. "I'm very proud of her. She did what a lot of people did back then. Everyone pulled together for a common cause. You can do a lot when you do that."
Honor Flight Austin takes WWII vets to D.C. for free. There are three upcoming flights. They are looking for veterans. If you know a veteran, visit the website and get them registered. The organization depends on donations. If interested, click on the red donate tab across the top.