This story begins in 1929 - 11 years after World War One. That year Congress authorized government-funded pilgrimages for mothers and widows of American soldiers killed in the war. Leaving from New York, they sailed to France, and visited the American military cemeteries in Europe.

In 1930, a grieving widow, or mother, boarded a train in Utah, bound for New York. She left New York Harbor a week later, aboard a United States Lines cruise ship. After two-days at sea, the mothers and widows were invited to the fore-deck for a formal ceremony.

Each woman was individually honored with a serialized medallion made by Tiffany & Co. The bronze medallion had a raised gold-plated star and was numbered on the rim at the six-o-clock position. The serial number matched a certificate that was presented along with the medallion. Obviously, the medallion and what it commemorated would have been precious to the owner.

Our story now jumps ahead 94-years to present day Vernal, Utah. Louis Haynes, a U.S. Army veteran who suffers from anxiety related to his service connected PTSD, is metal detecting with a machine presented to him by Metal Detectors 4 Veterans (MD4V.org). Since receiving the metal detector Louis has found several silver coins from the early 1900s and, more importantly, says metal detecting therapy is helping his anxiety.

As Louis slowly moved his coil across the ground carefully listening to the machine, he had no idea he was about to find a real treasure, an actual piece of American history. The detector came alive, telling him some type of non-ferrous metal was below his search coil. The target was deep, and it took some work to get down to it through the hard soil. At the bottom of the hole was a 1930 Gold Star Mothers and Widows Pilgrimage Medallion!

“The opportunity provided by Metal Detectors 4 Veterans has been wonderful. It has gotten me out and moving, and provided me with something positive to focus on,” said Haynes. Louis hopes now that he has identified the serial number on the medallion, he may be able to return it to the family this piece of Americana belongs with.

Metal Detectors 4 Veterans Inc. (MD4V.org), is a 501c3 charitable organization that supplies veterans suffering from service related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with metal detectors and metal detecting equipment free of charge. Research has shown that hobbies like metal detecting can be very beneficial for combat veterans suffering from PTSD, as it provides a way for them to be distracted from negative thoughts and feelings, reduces their stress, and improves mood.
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