Thieves stole Ron Hinkle's prized war medals. (Source: Miles Jackson/WAVE 3 News)
Ron Hinkle (Source: Miles Jackson/WAVE 3 News)
Hinkle was a tanker in the Iraq War. (Source: Ron Hinkle)
Hinkle was seriously injured in an IED explosion in Iraq. (Source: Ron Hinkle)
LEITCHFIELD, KY (WAVE) - A war hero has suffered another blow, years after surviving an IED explosion in Iraq. Thieves ransacked his Leitchfield home, and what they stole is something he can't replace.
In April 2006, Ron Hinkle's humvee was hit by an IED. "It went off right up against the side of us," he explained. "They finally put me up in a hospital and put me in a coma."
Hinkle suffered cardiac, pulmonary and renal failure. He spent 49 days in a coma and remembers little about what happened. But the pride of earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star is a memory he holds dear.
"I remember going up on stage and meeting the vice president," Hinkle recalled.
On July 14, thieves broke into Hinkle’s home. They took electronics and jewelry. They also snatched the medals Hinkle earned risking his life.
"It's just amazing that someone would even bother to take them, that they would even touch them," Hinkle said.
Police are searching for the criminals but say the medals won't get them much money. "Those are some things that are close to his heart," said Breckinridge County Sheriff Todd Pate. "Unless we recover those items, those are pretty well irreplaceable to him."
Hinkle still suffers from seizures and breathes with just one lung. His service dog Mia helps him throughout the day. The war hero is left with little hope the thieves will show they have some heart.
"I guess you just accept it and go on,” Hinkle said. “It's all you can do at this point."