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New Jersey vet who lost precious war medals in Hurricane Sandy gets a big surprise six years later

A Vietnam veteran who lost his medals in Hurricane Sandy in 2012 has received new medals to replace the lost ones. (Image source: WLNY-TV video screenshot)

Bernard Ebner, a Vietnam veteran from New Jersey, lost some precious war medals during Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey in 2012.

According to WLNY-TV, Ebner received five replacement military medals after his home was destroyed in the superstorm.

The medals included the National Defense Service Medal as well as the Battle “E” Ribbon, which is awarded to Navy crew who have shown the highest level of battle preparedness, according to the station.

What are the details?

Ebner's home in Union Beach, New Jersey, was hit with flooding and took on about 12 feet of water. He and his family lost everything in the storm, according to the station, and the home had to be demolished.

"I had four years of service," Ebner told WLNY. "When I found out they were lost it really hurt."

Ebner, 69, said that he didn't even realize what was missing until nearly 18 months after the storm.

“You live in the home 45 years and you have thousands of possessions you just don’t know how many until you’re put in this situation. Took about a year and a half to realize they were gone,” Ebner explained.

When he finally realized, he reached out to Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) for help — and Smith reportedly took the request to the Pentagon for fulfillment.

“We did a lot of case work during Hurricane Sandy. We had thousands of people that lost much. This was the first time someone came forward and said my medals are gone,” Smith said, according to the station.

What about the new medals?

Ebner received the medals on Tuesday.

"[It] feels very good, makes me very happy," Ebner said.

Ebner and his family eventually moved into a new home — on "more elevated ground," according to the station — but he said his thoughts still remain with those who lost everything six years ago during the storm.

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