Santa Ysabel man who died in war to receive awards
Augustine Quevas, a member of the Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueño Indians of California who died during World War II, will finally receive the military honors he is due.

Quevas earned the Purple Heart and other awards for serving in the U.S. Air Force. He fought in the Philippines when it came under attack by the Japanese and survived the Bataan Death March, only to be killed in 1944 while being transported as a prisoner of war.

Despite his record of service, the military won't release the awards to Karen Vigneault, Quevas' great-niece, because she isn't considered a next of kin. She was told she could buy the medals instead.

“A disgrace," Vigneault, the tribe's librarian, told The San Diego Union-Tribune, of the military's policy. "It’s not like I want them sitting in my house, collecting dust."

But a Florida man whose father served with Quevas decided to donate the medals. A ceremony will be held February 6 at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in San Diego.

“The more people know about this, the better off everyone’s going to be,” Stephen Blakeslee told the paper.

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War vet's great-niece rights great wrong (The San Diego Union-Tribune 1/24)