BELMONT — When Betty's Brown uncle passed away in September, she thought a cedar shadow box commemorating his military service would help ease the pain felt by her grieving aunt Grace Brooks.
With his burial flag in hand, Brown called her aunt and asked for her uncle's service medals, but her aunt didn't know where they were. She said all she could find was one old medal.
Undeterred, Brown said she called the one person she knew could help her get Robert J. Brooks Sr.'s medals — Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.
"She's the best person," said Brown of Ossipee. "She knows how to get things done."
Brown's thoughtful gift and her efforts lead to a special visit yesterday from Shea-Porter, who came to Belmont Town Hall to present Grace Brooks with the three medals earned by Robert J. Brooks Sr. while serving with the U.S. Army in the Korean War.
During his service, Brooks earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Medal. He also earned three battle stars during his year of active duty.
Brooks returned from Korea and went to work at the Laconia Shoe Company — where he met Grace — his bride for 56 years.
"We dated for five years," said Grace Brooks, who said her favorite memory of her husband was his fishing trips when he went in search of "Walter" — the big fish who always managed to get away.
She said her late husband was a quiet but funny man who was a licensed CB operator who especially loved being outdoors.
Shea Porter, who serves on the Armed Services Committee and is the daughter of a WWII veteran, said she was in Belmont to thank Grace, her husband and all of the veterans who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
She said South Korea's prosperity today can in part be credited to the sacrifices and military service of people like Grace's late husband.
In return, Grace made Shea-Porter a loaf of her home-made banana bread — one of her late husband's favorite things to eat.
CAPTION (Carol Shea Porter) Services medals were presented yesterday to the widow of Robert J. Brooks Sr. in conference room of the Belmont Town Hall yesterday. Form left to right are Susan Cutler (Brooks's daughter), Grace Brooks, Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter, and Congressional Aid Olga Clough. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)