Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
War hero gets lost honors
A New Port Richey veteran lost track of his 11 medals years ago. A ceremony Thursday gave them all back.
By CAMILLE C. SPENCER, Times Staff Writer
Published August 24, 2007
US Rep. Gus Bilirakis presented Nick Kostinko, 88, (center) a Bronze Star and many other medals that he had earned after his original medals were lost a long time ago while moving. His daughter in law (to the left, in red) Gerri Kostinko first asked Bilirakis for a list of her father-in-law's medals so that she could put them in a frame.
[Times photo: David Degner]
[Times photo: David Degner]
The Bronze Star that US Rep. Gus Bilirakis presented Nick Kostinko, 88, was one of many other medals that he received Thursday.
PALM HARBOR - It's been six decades since Nick Kostinko fought for the U.S. Army in World War II.
Now 88, Kostinko doesn't remember what he did to earn the Bronze Star. Only that he had one, and that at some point over the years he lost it.
"I never thought I'd get the medals back," Kostinko said.
But in a small ceremony Thursday at U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis' office, Kostinko received a new Bronze Star and 10 other medals from his nine years in the service.
The New Port Richey man sat in the front of the small room, surrounded by his son, daughter-in-law and about a dozen members of the Veterans Advisory Council.
He wore a black and white plaid suit jacket and wiped a tear from his eye as each of his medals was placed before him.
"What an honor for me," Bilirakis, R- Palm Harbor, said. "You deserve it. You're our hero."
Kostinko's military service took him around the world. He fought in France and supplied ammunition for combat squads in Japan. He earned a range of military honors, but lost some of the medals. Others never arrived.
Recently, his daughter-in-law, Gerri Kostinko, contacted the congressman's office with the hope of obtaining new medals. She wanted to put them in a shadow box and present them to her father-in-law as a gift.
"My wife said, 'We should do something to preserve his memory,'" said Nick Kostinko's son, Nicholas.
At the family's request, the congressman's office contacted the Army and obtained the medals Kostinko had earned.
Richard Whitmyer, who handles veterans affairs in the congressman's office, had gone through the process of retrieving medals for veterans before - but never for someone with so many medals. He suggested a ceremony at Bilirakis' office to honor Kostinko.
"I had no idea we were getting all this," Gerri Kostinko said.
On Thursday, after the applause and accolades, photographs and handshakes, the veteran was almost speechless.
"I feel pretty honored. It means so much for me," he said. "I just don't know how to feel about this."