Hurricane Ike almost broke Eddie Janek's heart. The storm left his Galveston home standing, but a surge of water tore through the Navy memorabilia that Janek has been collecting since 1943.
"I had all kinds of Navy stuff," said Janek, 81, a retired Galveston County commissioner and veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. "Airplanes hanging off the ceiling. Pictures from boot camp and all the ships that I had served on during the two wars I was in.
"I really had it fixed up nice and there isn't a thing left. My Navy memorial room is gone. I was really brokenhearted."
On Thursday, Janek's heart beat a quick recovery when two Texas A&M-Galveston officials who also happened to be friends returned his war medals.
They had washed up on Pelican Island, about four to five miles from Janek's waterfront home on Galveston Bay.
"This is unreal," said Janek, holding a board of mounted medals that had been swept away, floated under the bridge to Pelican Island and made its way to the shores of A&M's maritime campus. The medals were rescued along with the shadow box that housed them, its glass cover intact...
"Look at it this way," said [son] Kyle Janek, "those are Navy medals that made another beach landing and survived another onslaught."
Friday, October 03, 2008
Gig 'em veterans!
When I'm not wearing my Stetson or bike helmet, I've got on an A&M ballcap, and this story in today's Houston Chronicle really warmed my heart: