Army vet earned a Purple Heart overseas, then lost it at home when he fell on hard times

Army vet earned a Purple Heart overseas, then lost it at home when he fell on hard times
(Gino Doane)
(Gino Doane)

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In 2010, Corporal Gino Doane was on patrol in Eastern Afghanistan when the vehicle he was a passenger in ran over an enemy explosive.

"Our truck was hit by an IED. I was the lead gunner," he said. "As we went over, as we passed, I looked over the truck, it blew up in my face."

A special helmet that covered his face saved his life, but it didn't spare him from serious injury. He suffered severe head trauma and numerous shrapnel wounds.

The Army later presented Doane with a Purple Heart.

"I see it as me being able to come home to my family, and me being able to show them what I've done, what sacrifice I made," he said.

The Mililani High School graduate was also recognized for saving two soldiers from a burning building. Over the course of six years of service, Doane's superior officers awarded him a total of nine medals.

"I do take it to heart, because it does remind me of what I did," he said.

When he came back home to Hawaii, Doane says he put his possessions into storage, including the medals. When he fell on hard times, he admits he didn't pay the bill.

"I went there one day, I had no notification at all, and it was gone," he says.

The storage company had sold the contents of his unit, and told Doane they had no record of the buyers. Gone, too, were the certificates and commendations describing what Doane had done to deserve those medals.

"To me, that's my story," he said. "It has everything about me on those certificates, on the paperwork, and the medals. It means the world to me."

After a short period of homelessness, the father of three says he has his life back on track. For the past three years, Doane says he's hoped the medals and certificates would somehow come back to him.

Frustration and desperation drove him to plead for help on social media.

"That's what I was hoping, that somebody would see my post," he said.

Doane contacted the government for replacement medals, but they won't hold the same significance.

"It's like if I won an Oscar and someone stole it, and they sent me a replica. It doesn't have that value," he said.

Doane hopes for the originals back, but he knows it will take a miracle.

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