VIETNAM veteran Laurence Rushton didn’t even know he had lost his valuable miniature war medals in a Lavington store on Sunday.
But when he was contacted by Albury police yesterday he was relieved he didn’t have to experience the trauma of knowing they were not in his possession.
“I wouldn’t have realised they were gone until Anzac Day,” he said.
Mr Rushton served more than 13 years in the Australian Army and founded Wodonga’s Vietnam and Associated Veterans’ Club in 1993.
He was having breakfast on Sunday with another Vietnam veteran he had previously asked to get the ribbons made up for him.
“He gave them to me just that morning and I put them in my top pocket and went shopping at Rivers,” he said.
“I took my shirt off to try another one on and I didn’t even realise they’d fallen out.”
Rivers contacted The Border Mail on Tuesday hoping to alert the owner.
Police Insp Anthony Moodie said they tracked Mr Rushton down by reviewing the store’s security footage.
“We were able to identify his car and rego number,” he said.
“Luckily for him and happily for us he was able to pick them (the medals) up.”
Mr Rushton was touched by the effort of police and Rivers employees to get the medals returned.
“It shows a real respect for the veterans as a whole,” he said.
“I’m ecstatic to have them back.
“I would’ve been very concerned if I knew they were missing.”
Unlike the main medals, the miniature medals do not bear his name.