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Stolen Medal of Honor replaced at St. James School

December 02, 1999

Medal of HonorBy DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




ST. JAMES - The nation's highest military decoration, a Medal of Honor, was handed over to St. James School on Thursday, replacing a medal that was stolen from the school about 20 years ago.

cont. from front page

The original medal had been awarded, posthumously, to Donn Porter, a 1949 Saint James School graduate who was an Army sergeant during the Korean War.

Porter, of Ruxton, Md., was awarded the medal for his actions on Sept. 7, 1952, when two enemy platoons attacked an outpost under his command. Porter repelled two enemy attacks on his position that day. In the second attack, Porter "jumped from his position with bayonet fixed and, meeting the onslaught and in close combat, killed six hostile soldiers and routed the attack," according to the citation.

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Porter was killed by an artillery burst while returning to his outpost.

In 1953, Congress awarded the medal to Porter and Porter's family donated it to the school.

Then around 1982 the medal was stolen, said school headmaster Father Stuart Dunnan.

The replacement medal was acquired with the help of U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., R-Md.

John Worthington, a 1969 Saint James School graduate and friend and constituent of Ehrlich's, asked the congressman to help get the replacement medal.

Ehrlich put a staff member on the task. Eventually, Ehrlich met with a general, who he pulled from a Capitol Hill office party, and the general was able to help.

Ehrlich presented the medal to the school Thursday afternoon during a ceremony in the school chapel.

The ceremony was attended by Saint James students and some alumni, including about a dozen of Porter's classmates.

Tim Grier, who graduated with Porter, said it was good the school was getting a replacement medal.

"It's very good for the young boys to have something to look up to. He was a genuine hero," said Grier, of Annapolis.

Another of Porter's classmates, Robin Glattly, of Rockville, Md., said, "It brings back memories of a wonderful person."

Porter was captain of the school football and basketball teams and was popular, Glattly said.

"When you read the account (of his fighting in the war) it didn't surprise any of us," Glattly said.

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