Anonymous $1,500 gift helps restore Tulsa veteran's memories

Posted at 3:24 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 13:12:21-05

TULSA -- It's a gift Kristy Riles didn't expect to get so quickly.

A shadow box with medals, coins, and memorabilia was on hold at Lovetts Gallary. Riles thought it would take months to pay off the $1,500 piece. Then she got a surprise call.

"In red ink it said "paid in full." That's just a strong statement "paid in full." Soldiers pay in full for their lives, and for our country," Riles said.

An anonymous note thanking the former sergeant for her service filled the vet with pride, but it wasn't always this way. For four years after deployment, Riles couldn't bear to look at her memories from deployment.

"The army, in my mind, was my only purpose in this world. When it ended... what now? How can you top jumping out of airplanes? Ropeling out of helicopters?" she said.

It was Melissa Schupp, of a fourth generation military family, who told the army vet to be proud of how she served. Since taking the shadow box home, Schupp is noticing a difference.

"She has blossomed. She's more outgoing, she's more willing to talk about things... it has really helped her a lot I believe," she said.

Riles suffered from a traumatic brain injury, as well as physical challenges that make it difficult to get through the day. But looking at the shadow box daily is inspiring her to move forward.

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