Sign honoring Navy SEAL who lost battle with ALS still missing from family’s Virginia Beach farm

Posted at 3:27 PM, Apr 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-15 17:21:50-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - It's been two weeks since a sign honoring a Navy SEAL who battled ALS  disappeared from his family's Virginia Beach farm.

The Frog Hollow sign hung outside the Oyer Family Farm since 2007, a nod to Mike Oyer's Navy service.

"We named the farm 'Frog Hollow' because he was a Navy Frogman" his widow Valerie Oyer told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo.

"As soon as we moved out here, we brought the horses and he wanted to name it. What better than he started with frog and there’s always farms and barns so he wanted to make it different and name it Frog Hollow," his daughter Emily Oyer added.

The Sign Disappears 

The Frog Hollow sign sat at the edge of the Oyer Farm on Morris Neck Road in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach.

The last time Valerie Oyer saw the sign was the morning of Wednesday, April 1st when she left for work.

"When I came home from work Wednesday night about 5:30, it was obvious it wasn’t there because I can see if when I’m coming down the road," she said.

At first, Oyer thought her son might have taken it down for some reason.

After he told her he hadn't, friends on Facebook suggested that perhaps someone had taken it as an April Fool's Day joke.

When the sign didn't reappear the next day, Oyer began to suspect that it was likely stolen.

"It makes me angry that somebody would take it," she said. "It makes me sad too that it’s gone because this was his slice of heaven out here. This is where he always wanted to be so it makes me sad that it’s gone."

"Once I found out it was actually missing it kind of made me a little angry because anyone who drives on this road knows the sign," Emily Oyer stated.

The sign, which is a wooden circle about three feet in diameter, is too heavy to have blown away.

"Every time I go out, I look to see if someone has thrown it in the ditch or somewhere on the side of the road but I haven’t seen it since," Oyer said.

The sign was custom-made, a gift from Mike Oyer's parents in 2007, the same year he was diagnosed with ALS.

"It was sentimental. Very sentimental."

Mike's Battle Against ALS

Mike Oyer was diagnosed with ALS in 2007.

ALS, or Lou Gherig’s disease, attacks motor neurons and slowly chips away at a person's ability to speak, walk, talk and breath.

There is no known cause or cure.

For many years, NewsChannel 3 chronicled Mike Oyer's brave fight against the disease which took his life in August 2012.

His family has spent the past few years honoring his memory by raising awareness and taking part in the Virginia Beach Walk to Defeat ALS through their Frog Hollow Warriors Team.

The next Walk to Defeat ALS is Saturday, April 25 at the Oceanfront and Valerie Oyer hopes more people will join the Frog Hollow Warriors Team.

People Taking Action

Ever since NewsChannel 3 aired the story about the missing sign, viewers across Hampton Roads and across the country have stepped up and offered to make a replacement sign for the family.

Todd Corillo shared some of the e-mails and calls with Emily Oyer.

"Honestly it’s awesome that people are really noticing and wanting to do something," she said.

"That makes it even better that you have no idea who we are. You just saw our story on the news and you want to help – that’s a good person. You don’t know and you still want to help," Emily Oyer continued.

A Family's Request

While many people have offered to make a new sign, the Oyer family is still hoping whoever took the sign will return it so there will be no need for a replacement.

"If you know where the sign is and it’s still intact if you would just put in back in the yard – I don’t care who took it," Valerie Oyer said.

"Just bring it back. Like just drop it off. You don’t have to come up to the front door just bring it back, that’s all," Emily Oyer reiterated.

Virginia Beach Police are investigating the theft of the Frog Hollow sign.

If you have any information, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.


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