Army vet reunited with stolen medals in hours thanks to social media

Former Lance-Corporal Paul Chambers has been reunited with his stolen medals, awarded during two tours of Afghanistan. Photo/ supplied
Former Lance-Corporal Paul Chambers has been reunited with his stolen medals, awarded during two tours of Afghanistan. Photo/ supplied

An Afghanistan veteran has been reunited with his stolen medals thanks to a former Navy plotter and the power of social media.

Former Lance-Corporal Paul Chambers was awarded three medals during his two tours of Afghanistan, but they were stolen in a burglary in April last year.

Earlier this month, the wife of former sailor Kelly Kidd spotted three medals in a charity shop in Auckland.

"My wife sent me a photo and I saw they were very recent medals," Kidd said.

"I thought, 'why would they be in an op shop?' So I said, 'pay for them and bring them home'."

Kidd saw there was a name and service number engraved on the medals and was determined to find their rightful owner.

He put the details on the Ex-RNZN Facebook page, a group for former and current navy personnel and their families, asking for help.

"It pretty much went nuts from there. Absolutely nuts."

Hours later, Kidd was on the phone with Chambers about sending the medals back to him.

"He could not believe they had turned up," Kidd said.

"He was nearly in tears of joy."

Kidd said he wanted to return the medals because of the comradeship among service personnel.

He has been refunded the cost of the medals by the charity shop manager, although he did not ask for one.

"The $75 I paid for them is irrelevant to what they mean to the person who risked their life for their country."

Christine Chambers is reunited with her son's stolen medals after former sailor Kelly Kidd started a social media campaign to find their rightful owner. Photo/ supplied
Christine Chambers is reunited with her son's stolen medals after former sailor Kelly Kidd started a social media campaign to find their rightful owner. Photo/ supplied

Chambers said he received a number of messages from old army mates asking if the medals online were his after seeing the Ex-RNZN post.

"Maybe four hours, and I ended up with the name and phone number of Kelly Kidd - the legend who started it all," Chambers said.

"He wouldn't know me from a bar of soap. I'm blown away, and stoked with the response from everybody. It was very cool to see everyone tagging, helping out."

Chambers lives in Blenheim after leaving the army in 2012.

Kidd has taken the medals to Chamber's mother Christine's place in Auckland for safekeeping for now.

- NZ Herald

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