Woman returns Navy uniform, medals found in trunk of her stolen and recovered car

Posted at 8:49 PM, Aug 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-04 21:24:51-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - A Navy uniform, stolen military medals, and a woman determined to meet "an American hero."

After weeks of research, 82-year-old Colleen Fogarty finally got the chance.

Fogarty's car was stolen in mid-July. Four days later, police found her vehicle in Newport News and arrested the 19-year-old man caught driving it. When police brought it back to her, she went through the trunk and discovered a Navy uniform and several very prestigious medals.

"I thought it was a costume of some sort or a uniform of a cruise ship. But when I looked carefully and saw a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, I knew I was dealing with something genuine," Fogarty says.

But who did they belong to? Fogarty was determined to find out.

"I'd love to know his story of all his pursuits," she said. "I'd love to know the story behind the Bronze Star. I'd love to know the story behind the Purple Heart. In fact, all of these medals. He's a deep sea diver and a mark-smith with revolvers and rifles. He's an extremely talented man."

Colleen took action and called the Navy. While doing her own digging, she found an old ID card in the uniform. The name on it was Adam Skiest.

While the Navy did their research, Colleen made phone calls and found an address for Adam in Moyock.

So she wrote a letter to retired Chief Petty Officer Adam Skiest.

"It wasn't that much work. A few telephone calls. A letter to Adam in Moyock. I didn't even know where Moyock was," she says.

Then Adam called her. He said the uniform had been stolen out of his car weeks earlier. So far, no one has been charged for the theft of his uniform.

Adam wore that uniform while serving our country and when marrying his wife.

Colleen said she wanted nothing more than to return it in person.

"I'm going to tell him I've never met a hero before. I'd love to shake your hand," she says.

She got more than a handshake. She got a hug.

Now the medals, honors, and uniform are back with their rightful owner -- a man who just wanted to say thanks to the woman who made sure it was all returned to him.

"I wasn't planning on replacing it," he says. "I didn't know if I was ever going to wear it again."

Now he can, thanks to Colleen taking action and getting results.