Terminally ill woman receives father's war medals just in time

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Becky Snell admits she didn't know much about her father's time in the service, other than the fact he served as an Army Corporal on Catalina Island during World War II.

When Snell was a child she remembered her father's military jacket but it was destroyed in a fire. This spring she began the process of replacing the medals on them.

"I wanted the medals for my kids. I wanted them to have something of grandpa`s that he earned," she said.

In May, she applied to find his medals through Congressman David Young's office. Congressman Young hand-delivered them to Snell's home late last month.

"It just makes everything so much more special. It's just so much more cherished," said Snell.

It's not just the medals she cherishes. Snell now looks at life through a different lens. In August of 2015, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

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"He gave me the prognosis of 6-12 months and I`m in month 13 now," smiled Snell.

Now, on borrowed time she is spending all of it reminiscing with her three children, each one receiving one of their grandfather's five pieces of hardware.

"When you learn the history of the battles in school, you're not thinking this is my grandparents. You are just hearing about people who went over and fought," says Snell's daughter, Christy Holmes. "When you put it into reality, that it`s a family member that you could have possibly lost, it makes it that much more special."

The family remembers their veteran as an unusual man with an ornery side. Snell laughed when she learned he earned a medal for good conduct. Her father died in 1998 but had he been alive, she says he would be honored to know the effort it took to get his medals and to pass them on to the next generation.

"He would be as proud as punch and would say that`s my girl."

Snell is still interested in learning more about her father's war experience. She plans to continue researching his history in her spare time.

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