SANTA ROSA (KPIX) — There haven’t been many laughs or smiles for Charles R. Greene since last October’s Sonoma County firestorm.
The flames that tore apart so many lives took direct aim at “Doc” Greene’s home, destroying cherished mementos — including a uniform and medals — belonging to the 92-year-old former Marine who survived the battle for Iwo Jima in World War II.
Thanks to the efforts of his daughter Marjorie Greene and a fellow Marine named Santiago “Sarge” Sanchez, Doc was reunited with his past when he received a replacement uniform and replica medals at a surprise party at the VA clinic in Santa Rosa on Friday.
As Sanchez recalled, the process of replacement began with a call from Marjorie.
“(She) reached reached out to me … and said ‘listen my father lost his stuff in the fires in Santa Rosa and we can’t replace the stuff — we don’t know how.’ So I said, ‘I’ll try to help the best I can — you know this is not gonna be an easy task at all.'”
Marines don’t shy away from tough assignments so Sanchez got to work. He found replacement medals right away but the uniform was a bit tougher.
“There was only two of them out there that I could find and only one of them was original to 1942,” Sanchez said.
But, after a few phone calls, Sarge got lucky.
“I was able to get the uniform which is an original World War II — marked 1942 — my goodness! — and be able to find this and get it out here in time,” Sanchez said.
Doc was pleased. “I wore it — we wore it — with great pride,” he said. “What a surprise!”