A cane returned, a hero recognized

Members of the Marine Corps League, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and the Lancaster County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office gathered to honor a local hero. From left are (front row) Kenneth Kunkle, Jimmy Smith, Dave Clements, Mike Gilberti, retired U.S. Marine Corps. Col. Harvey “Barney” Barnum Jr., Clarence Hargus, Steve Larson, John Seltzer and Jim Schafer; (next row) Sheriff Patrick McCranie, Jim Webb, Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Spencer, Johnny Smithart, Jeffrey Haywood, Mike Ennis, and William Thompsen. Photo by Jackie Nunnery

by Jackie Nunnery

It all started when retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Harvey “Barney” Barnum Jr. of Reedville leaned his cane against his car to put on new license plate tags in the Kilmarnock DMV parking lot, then proceeded to drive off minus his cane. But Barnum is no ordinary man and it was no ordinary cane.

Barnum is a decorated war hero, having received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1967 for his actions during the Vietnam War; one of just 65 current living recipients. The missing cane was given to him by Gen. James T. Conway, former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, so Col. Barnum asked Lancaster County Sheriff Patrick McCranie to “do everything in his power to find it.” Two weeks later, detectives Johnny Smithart and Tim Self did just that….

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