Service flag donated for veteran's burial service after burglary

Someone broke into the garage of an Air Force Veteran's Widow's home and stole a flag that was supposed to be presented at a burial service this weekend. (April 18, 2017)

Penny Pelkey's garage was burglarized on Friday afternoon, but it wasn't until Tuesday morning did she make a shocking discovery.

Plenty of valuable items, including expensive camera equipment, were stolen. But perhaps the hardest loss of all...a flag.

"That was the hardest to take," Pelkey said. "I had a cry for awhile."

The flag was to be presented to Pelkey at a burial service for husband David, an Air Force Veteran. She spent 11 years devoted to being his caretaker.

David suffered from dementia, but it wasn't until a couple of months before his death in 2016, did his family find out it was Lewy Body Dementia. 

"Not a lot of people know about it," Pelkey said. "It should be called the Robin Williams disease."

The late actor suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, bringing more awareness. Pelkey said she hopes to also be an advocate of the disease in honor of her late husband's memory. 

"It was so hard to say goodbye," Pelkey cried. "He loved me very much.And I loved him."

Pelkey said she wants to remember the good times, including the day before he passed away.

"He told me to let him go and find someone to take care of me," Pelkey said, because she had spent so much of her life taking care of him.

When Pelkey reported the burglary to the Roseville Police Department, Community Service Officer Stephanie Giannini took the call.

"It was heartbreaking. I felt sad as well," CSO Officer Giannini said. "How were we going to be able to help her out today?"

The department posted about what had happened on their Facebook page, and before Officer Giannini could even fill out the full report, someone had stepped in.

Douglas Wagemann, funeral director of Cochrane Wagemann in Roseville, offered his funeral home's flag and a flag case. 

"She just lost her husband. On top of that major loss, to experience loss again through much for one person to have to deal with," he said.

It may not be the original, but it came with the best of intentions. By Tuesday afternoon, Officer Giannini had delivered the new flag to Pelkey's home.

"'To have people kind enough to bring that in and get it together for me was just wonderful," Palkey said. "That's gonna be my last farewell because we're burying his ashes. That's also gonna be my period to let go." 

The private burial service is happening on Saturday afternoon in Roseville. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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