Nova Scotia veteran whose medals were stolen receives good news

A Nova Scotia veteran who had his medals stolen from his hotel room earlier this year will soon have a new Meritorious Service Medal.

Michael Deutsch, a retired Major recently posted to CFB Greenwood in Nova Scotia, stayed at the Lord Nelson Hotel in November to visit his two sons.

He had planned to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony in Halifax. He brought his uniform and medals, but a back injury prevented him from going.

During a visit with his family that week, Deutsch returned to his hotel room to find that he and his wife had been stolen and that four medals were among the missing items.

Adam Deutsch, Michael’s son, said the story struck a chord with many Canadians. The family heard from people across the country, including former colleagues.

Then Michael Deutsch got a call from the Governor General’s office.

Major Michael Deutsch stands with then-Governor General Julie Payette as he receives a bar on his Meritorious Service Medal in 2019. (Submitted by Adam Deutsch)

He was told that his Meritorious Service Medal was being remelted into the original mold and that he would soon receive a replacement.

“There will be an ‘R’ on the medal to indicate it was a replacement,” said Adam Deutsch in a recent interview. “But beyond that, it will be exactly the same.

“He was over the moon … He was so happy.”

The only cost for Michael Deutsch will be to have his name engraved on the medal, which his son called marginal.

Adam Deutsch said a request has also been made to National Defense Headquarters for the replacement of the other stolen medals and he is optimistic that this will happen.

He said Michael Deutsch, who served for 41 years, did not expect the influx of support he received.

No progress in the police investigation

The Canadian Forces community is large, but tight-knit, said Adam Deutsch.

“They stepped in when they needed it,” he said, adding that some had offered to help find the medals.

“The whole situation just got a lot bigger than expected and it was great to see how positive everyone was.”

Michael Deutsch reported the incident to Halifax Regional Police.

Her son said the last update they received from investigators was an email from December 1, but no progress had been made in the case.

Lt. Yanick Hamel, spokesperson for the Canadian Armed Forces, said the organization does not systematically follow up requests for replacement of lost, stolen or destroyed medals.

However, he said there had been 500 replacement requests since 2019.

“Most of the claims are the result of losses in moves with much smaller numbers for break-ins, house fires and other circumstances,” Hamel said in a statement.

He said there is no registry for lost or stolen medals. However, all replacements are marked with an “R” to make it easier to identify the original if it were to surface.

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