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Coin given to US’s oldest park ranger by Barack Obama stolen in home invasion | The Latest Online

Coin given to US’s oldest park ranger by Barack Obama stolen in home invasion

The White House is sending a replacement coin to 94-year-old Betty Soskin, who says she hopes she can recover the original from violent home intruder

The oldest park ranger in the US suffered a violent home invasion in which the suspect stole a commemorative coin Barack Obama gave to the 94-year-old woman, according to California police.

Park officials said on Thursday that the White House is sending a replacement coin to Betty Soskin, who works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front national historic park in northern California. But the ranger said she hopes she can recover the original.

Around midnight on Monday, an intruder broke into Soskins bedroom in Richmond, just north of San Francisco, according to police.

Authorities say the suspect, described as a thin man in his 20s, punched Soskin multiple times when she tried to grab her phone, knocked her to the floor and dragged her into a hallway.

Soskin told police that she managed to lock herself in the bathroom, and that when the intruder left, she found he had taken her iPad, cellphone, laptop, jewelry and the coin Obama had given her in December, which was one of her most prized possessions.

Shes doing alright, but emotionally obviously its a lot to deal with, said Tom Leatherman, a National Park Service superintendent who spoke with Soskin after the assault.

Betty
Ranger Betty Soskin holds a photo of herself has a young woman. Photograph: Alamy

Soskin received national attention in December when she introduced Obama at a tree-lighting ceremony in Washington DC. There, the president gave her the coin.

If I can get that coin back I think I can forgive anything, Soskin told local news station KTVU on Wednesday.

Soskin is well-known locally and within the park service for her talks and tours at the Rosie the Riveter park where she often tells personal stories about her life as a young black woman working at the Richmond shipyards during the second world war.

Meeting the president and receiving the coin was a powerful experience for Soskin, Leatherman said. At the time, she brought with her a picture of her grandmother, who was born into slavery.

To watch the social changes that had to happen in order for that series of events to occur is something she reflects on on a regular basis, he said, adding that within the park service, Soskin is seen as a model of how we can use our own experiences to connect with people and provide some insights into the stories were telling.

In a 2015 interview with the Guardian, Soskin discussed her personal relationship to the park.

As a woman of color, my history with the park is a bit different. My experience was not as a Rosie the Riveter; that tended to be a white womans story. Black women had been working outside their homes ever since slavery.

She added: I love showing visitors a film about the history of Richmond. When it ends, I get to do a commentary, bringing that history into the future. When the park was being set up, the exhibit designers and film makers really did listen to those of us who lived and worked here. I feel very much a part of its creation.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/30/betty-soskin-barack-obama-coin-stolen

Author: The Latest Online

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