Mission accomplished: Master Sgt. Verlon Johnson reclaims medals before being laid to rest

Published: Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM.

All that was left as a reminder of his service in the Green Berets was his circa-1970s uniform jacket.

This past July, however, thanks to the help of family friend Kay Coffeen, 10 reminders of his military service were delivered to the Johnson home, including all but a single purple heart.

“I’m glad he got to see them before he passed away,” said Maureen, whose husband had suffered for years from complications of a stroke. “They came just in time.” Johnson died Oct. 15.

Maureen did not meet her future husband until after his military career had ended, but she knew how important these were to him.

“We met in Saudi Arabia,” she said. “I may as well tell people we met on the moon.”

While Verlon Johnson was joining up, the future Mrs. Johnson, a native of Lincolnshire, England, was going to school to become a radiation therapist. After a two-decade stint working at a British hospital, she followed an advertisement to a faraway land, and landed in 1976 Saudi Arabia to be a radiation therapist.

This was two years after Johnson had retired and moved to the country to train Saudi Arabian National Guardsmen.

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