Woman seeks rightful owner of lost Navy badge

Posted at: 03/06/2014 10:24 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Have you ever found something and immediately had a feeling it could be important?

That's what happened to one Albuquerque woman when she found a metallic United States Navy insignia outside her home in December.

Since then Crystal LeMaster posted about it on her neighborhood's message board, and asked around, but no one had any idea what it was.

So she kept it safe in her desk, hoping for a chance like this one to get the word out.

Lemaster has closed her front gate hundreds and hundreds of times.

"Hundreds!" she exclaimed.

Each time it's the same, until one day a couple months ago.

"It was literally sitting here," she said, pointing at the latch on her driveway gate.

Maybe a week after Christmas, LeMaster closed her gate but it was very different this time. Something shiny caught her eye.

"Why they put it here, I don't know," she said.

Just what it is kind of took her breath away.

Balancing on her gate latch was a U.S. Navy anchor insignia. It's heavy and metallic, and it even has a name inscribed: "Rick West."

"And I was thinking this Rick West is either missing it, or he gifted it to somebody," said LeMaster. "And someone's missing this medal."

Rick West is pretty easy to find.

West served as Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy between 2008 and 2012 -- it's the highest rank an enlisted Naval officer can achieve.

Is the badge his?

LeMaster says, probably not.

But she thinks West may have given it to someone, and that means something to her.

"My son was in the Navy," she said. "He served two tours in Iraq."

The badge, she says -- whatever it means -- could belong to someone else's son, or daughter.

"I know what it would mean to me if it was my son's, I'd want it," she said. "Whatever the connection is, I just think that whoever this medal belongs to it needs to go back to them."

We have a photo of the metal insignia for you to share on our Facebook page.