WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Navy veteran has been reunited with the medals he earned during a 20-year military career after a decade of thinking they were gone for good.
Jose Andaluz was cleaning an office building in Providence a few months ago when he came across a glass case containing a flag and a collection of military medals.
Instead of getting rid of them, he set out to track down the person who earned them decades ago while fighting for our country.
“I kept it all this time because I knew I was going to find him,” he said.
We helped Andaluz track down Orrie Brauer in Warwick and set up an emotional meeting.
Brauer told us his career at the building where the medals were found ended abruptly in 2004.
“They told me to leave my office and I could come back on Monday. Well, on Monday they wouldn’t let me back in the building and they actually told me it was gone.”
Gone were the symbols of his service, including time the Gulf War in the early 90s, when he served on an ammunition ship. Brauer climbed his way up to Senior Chief, and his fellow sailors gave him this when he finally retired.
“I didn’t get shot or anything, and I didn’t die for it, but I put in a lot of hard work,” he said.
“My dad earned this and I respect what he did,” said Brauer’s son, Matthew, through tears.
“Just to see it back here, it’s relieving,” said son Brian Brauer. “My father defended this country for 23 years. Everything he earned in the military is back with him where it should be.”