Bronze Star medal returned to family of war hero by Big Bear Sheriff’s Station deputies
Big Bear investigation lead to return of Bronze Star medal to deceased veteran’s family
In August, 2014, deputies of the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station executed a search warrant at a residence in the 100 block of S. Winding Lane in Big Bear City and recovered stolen property that included a Bronze Star medal with a “V” Device. The Bronze Star had the name Dell Bender engraved on the back of it.
The search warrant resulted in the arrest of multiple suspects and convictions. The criminal case has since been adjudicated and the stolen property was authorized for release to its rightful owner.
A records check revealed that Bender is deceased. Deputy Travis Wijnhamer conducted investigation to identify next of kin and notify them that Bender’s Bronze Star medal had been recovered.
Bender’s family was not aware that the medal had been stolen and believed that it was destroyed in a fire some time during the 1950s. The medal was returned to Bender’s family with deep gratitude for his service to our great nation.
The Bronze Star medal is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. The “V” Device is authorized when the medal is awarded for acts of valor and meritorious service in combat.
Sheriff’s deputies can be contacted in Big Bear at http://cms.sbcounty.gov/sheriff/PatrolStations/BigBearLake.aspx.
As a side note, Vets are honored on Memorial Day 2017 in Veterans Park in Big Bear Lake. See the story at http://kvbb945.com/big-bear-memorial-day-program/.