Nova Scotia

N.S. veteran whose medals were stolen gets some good news

A Nova Scotia veteran who had his medals stolen out of his hotel room earlier this year will soon be receiving a replacement for his Meritorious Service Medal.

Governor General's office informs Michael Deutsch his Meritorious Service Medal will be replaced

Maj. Michael Deutsch stands with his sons Adam, right, and Zack. (Submitted by Adam Deutsch)

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

Michael Deutsch, a retired major most recently stationed at 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 family that week, Deutsch returned to his hotel room to find he and his wife had been robbed, and 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 from across the country, including former colleagues.

Then, Michael Deutsch received a call from the Governor General's office.

Maj. Michael Deutsch stands with Julie Payette, the governor general at the time, as he receives a bar on his Meritorious Service Medal in 2019. (Submitted by Adam Deutsch)

He was told his Meritorious Service Medal was being recast in the original mould, and he would soon be receiving a replacement.

"There will be an 'R' on the medal to indicate that it was a replacement," Adam Deutsch said in a recent interview. "But beyond that, it'll be the exact same.

"He was over the moon ... He was just so happy."

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

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

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

No progress in police investigation

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

"They stepped up when they needed to," he said, adding that some offered to help in the search for the medals.

"The whole situation grew much bigger than expected and it was great to see how positive everybody was."

Michael Deutsch reported the incident to Halifax Regional Police.

His son said the last update they heard from investigators was an email on Dec. 1, but no progress had been made in the case.

Lt. Yanick Hamel, a spokesperson for the Canadian Armed Forces, said the organization does not systematically track replacement applications for lost, stolen or destroyed medals.

However, he said there have been 500 replacement applications since 2019.

"Most of the requests are the result of loss during moves with much smaller numbers for break-ins, house fires and other circumstances," said Hamel in a statement.

He said there is no registry for lost or stolen medals. However, any replacements bear an "R" to help facilitate the identification of the original if it were to surface.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aly Thomson

Reporter/Editor

Aly Thomson is an award-winning journalist based in Halifax who loves helping the people of her home province tell their stories. She is particularly interested in issues surrounding justice, education and the entertainment industry. You can email her with tips and feedback at aly.thomson@cbc.ca.

With files from Jack Julian

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