Motorcycle convoy sets off from Statesville on 2400 mile ride to return World War Two hero’s medals to his family
Purple Heart, two Silver Stars found for sale in antique shop
STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - A motorcycle convoy set off from Statesville on Monday morning on a 2400 mile ride to Hollywood, California, to return a set of World War Two medals to the family of a man who fought in several major battles, including the D-Day invasion.
The medals were discovered in an antique shop nearly three years ago by Kim Siegrist. Siegrist asked the owner to give them to her so she should return them to his family. When her request was denied, she paid the asking price and took the display case home.
That’s when the search began for the family of Coy William Goins.
“My wife fund a group of medals from a WW2 hero in a cheap, cardboard made box in a thrift shop and we decided that would not stand, so we have worked, going on three years now to find the rightful, historical heir family, which happens to be in Hollywood, California, a history teacher as it were, and we will be riding with an assemblage of first bicycles leading us out but then motorcycles leading us across the country to bring them to the rightful family,” said Kim’s husband Roger.
The Siegrists’s have formed an organization called Precious Medals, dedicated to reuniting medals and other service items, long thought lost, with the family of the veteran.
A copy of Mr. Goins’ obituary was included with the medals in the display case that Kim Siegrist purchased in the antique shop. Using family information in the obit and the internet, she located some of his relatives in West Virginia and asked them if she could return the medals to them.
They were not interested, she said, citing Mr. Goins’ struggles with alcoholism and homelessness after his return from World War II.
“He was a very wounded soldier whose family did not understand him,” explained Kim Siegrist, a mental health specialist who feels called to help active and retired military service members dealing with PTSD.
“When Coy came back, he had his arms and legs, but as happens today, he returned affected by his war experiences,” Roger Siegrist said.
Undeterred, the Siegrists continued searching for a relative of Mr. Goins who would appreciate his service to his country and give his military medals the reverence and respect they deserve.
“We’re leaving on Memorial Day and we’re arriving on D-Day where he where he won a Purple Heart, didn’t win, but was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained at D-Day,” Roger Siegrist said.
Goins, who was born on January 29, 1919, in Wilcoe, West Virginia, enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
During his service in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Mr. Goins participated in the Normandy Invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of the Rhineland and the Central Europe Campaign. He was wounded twice, for which he was awarded two Purple Hearts. His other medals, including two Silver Stars, were awarded were gallantry and exemplary service in combat.
The effort to return the medals also includes Purple Heart Homes in Statesville.
“Normally we’re doing ramps and widening doorways for veterans and making sure they’ve got safe places to live,” said Brad Borders of Purple Heart Homes. “We’ve allowed donations to run through Purple Heart Homes to help fund the trip and then everything that’s left over will go and pay it forward for a veteran that we serve and so it’s a double win. What better way to celebrate Memorial Day and remembering those that we’ve lost and paying forward to those who are still here.”
The trip will take approximately eight days, allowing for the group to reach Hollywood on the anniversary of D-Day. When the group left on Monday, there got an escort from Statesville Police, as well as a number of bicycle riders who were taking part in an annual Memorial Day ride.
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