A Georgia Army veteran is heartbroken after losing the hand-carved wooden cane that’s helped her walk since her leg was injured in 2010 during combat in Afghanistan — but now her whole community is helping her find it again.
Army Sgt. Kendra Lou Pieper lost her left leg above the knee after being hurt by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010. The cane was imprinted with her service record and medals.
So when the cane went missing after she accidentally left it at a gas station this week, Pieper felt she’d lost a lot more than a walking stick.
“I was given this cane shortly after I lost my leg. Every fine detail was hand carved & colored. It has my rank/name on it, and each of my military badges,” she said.
“It also has my Purple Heart medal, and the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross. It says ‘Ripcord’ because that was our call sign down range,” she wrote in a Facebook post which has now been shared 600,000 times.
Her fiance returned to the gas station to try to find the cane, but it wasn’t there. Security footage showed a white suburban which pulled up behind her and took the cane, she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I don’t care who, what, where, when, or why. I just want my cane back. I feel that my cane told my story without me saying a word. It answered people’s questions without them having to ask,” she said in the Facebook post, adding, “…This cane was made for me. Please, I just want my cane retuned back to me or the store it was taken from.”
Now the local sheriff has opened an investigation, which should make it easier to track down who might have taken the cane. And Pieper says she’s been moved by the support her story has gotten.
“I just really want to tell everyone, ‘thank you,’” Pieper told the AJC. “It’s been so amazing to see how many people truly care. And how patriotic America still is. So, I definitely want to tell the people, ‘thank you for caring.’”