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Afghan vet has medals stolen from Quebec home, seeks help finding them

A veteran of Canada's war in Afghanistan is reaching out to the thief who stole several medals he earned during his 25-year military career.

'I thought Canadian soldiers were well respected in this country'

A thief stole several medals Marco St-Gelais received for serving on overseas missions with the Canadian military. (Radio-Canada)

A veteran of Canada's war in Afghanistan is reaching out to the thief who stole several medals he earned during his 25-year military career.

Retired sgt. Marco St-Gelais had his home in East Angus, Que., burgled earlier this month. The robber took a laptop, some knives, two bottles of rum and what are among St-Gelais's most prized possessions — medals for taking part in missions to Afghanistan, the Golan Heights, Central Africa and Bosnia.  

There is a lot of pain in them. There are guys who lost their lives [on those missions].- Marco St-Gelais on his stolen medals

"Each medal represents something specific," St-Gelais told Radio-Canada. "There is a lot of pain in them. There are guys who lost their lives [on those missions]."

St-Gelais posted a message on Facebook calling on friends to help him get his medals back. His post has been shared almost 4,000 times since then. 

A question of respect

St-Gelais said he's not interested in pressing charges, he just wants his medals returned. 

"If the person who stole them is [reading] this and realizes they did wrong, or didn't know what they were doing, just put them in a cardboard box and drop it off at my door," St-Gelais said. 

He encouraged anyone who happens to see the medals in a pawn shop to buy them. He promises to pay them back.

The Canadian military can provide exact replicas of the medals, but for St-Gelais they won't have the same emotional value as the originals. 

Losing the medals to theft, moreover, comes with an added slight to his identity as a veteran. 

"I thought Canadian soldiers were well respected in this country," St-Gelais said. "This shows that I'm not respected."

with files from Radio-Canada

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