John James Lavoie is fighting to clear his name after he was publicly accused of stolen valor.
Military memorabilia decorates the walls of Lavoie’s Jacksonville home — a roomful of medals, honors and awards all related to his 24 years of service in the US Marine Corps.
But A Florida Times-Union newspaper article questioning his service record also sits on his table, reminding him how his “life is crumbled,” says Lavoie.
Lavoie is being accused of “Stolen Valor,” a term used to describe non-veterans wearing veterans’ gear or service members wearing medals they did not earn.
“I was already guilty until proven innocent,” Lavoie told First Coast News in Jacksonville.
So Lavoie tracked down his DD 214 and 215—the document veterans use to prove their service history.
And indeed the form does show that Lavoie received Medals of Honor — including the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with Valor and the Silver Star.
The problem is papers from The National Archives don’t match the medals that appear on his DD 214/15 forms.
The National Archives in St. Louis released Lavoie’s service records, and the list of Decorations and Awards does not include a Purple Heart Medal, A Bronze Star or a Silver Star, according to the report.
Lavoie says he’s not going to give up until he restores his good name. He doesn’t have any explanation for why the documents don’t match up, but says he is going to do whatever he can to correct it.