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ADDISON (CBS11) – On Wednesday morning, staff at the American Fallen Soldiers Project in Addison, walked in to find missing computers and a shattered glass wall.
In all, four pricey computers were taken from administrative offices, but the organization said the person or people responsible also violated a sacred space.
“This is a sanctuary for veterans. They come in all the time, veterans with PTSD who’ve lost buddies. This is a peaceful place,” said Lisa Taylor, the nonprofit’s Executive Director and Co-founder.
They had to walk past the portraits of fallen soldiers, and past the stories of their courage and sacrifice in order to get their hands on the loot.
“It’s no different than going to Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery and standing on the graves of warriors to pick low hanging fruit,” said Commissioner Rob Kyker, who has been a supporter of the nonprofit.
Over a decade, the American Fallen Soldiers Project has honored some 250 Gold Star families with portraits of their loved ones, created by artist Phil Taylor.
“Once we serve them, they’re our family,” said Mrs. Taylor.
Recipients are often overcome with emotions when they are presented with the special gift.
“They say ‘That’s them! Or, you brought my son home!”
Inside the artist’s work room sits a shelf filled with priceless combat medals including a Purple Heart. They are tokens of gratitude from the families the Taylors have honored. Mrs. Taylor remembers a particularly moving gift she received.
“[A recipient] held my hand, and said ‘I want to give this to you.’ It was a Gold Star. He goes ‘I don’t don’t have to wear this anymore.”
Mrs. Taylor implored the crook or crooks to return the computers they need to fulfill their mission. The organization has a portrait unveiling in Amarillo on Saturday, and two others scheduled shortly after.
“The people who did this have no idea what they did. Maybe, come back in here and I can tell them what they did and show them, help their hearts a little bit,” she said.
Commissioner Kyker has another idea.
“We’re going to find them, We’re going to make them guests in one of our fine facilities in the Great State of Texas.”
Addison Police are investigating.