C. Douglas Sterner
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About C. Douglas Sterner
Doug Sterner is a decorated former Army Combat Engineer who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and in 2012 was enrolled as an Honorary Life Member of the Legion of Valor. In 1998 and again in 2002 he was appointed by Colorado Governor Bill Owens to terms on the Colorado State Board of Veterans Affairs, and was subsequently elected to that Board as its Chairman.
In 1998 Doug launched a website at HomeOfHeroes.com to document the citations and biographies of our Nation’s Medal of Honor recipients. His website today receives more than 10 million hits each month. In 2001 he expanded his work to create a comprehensive database of military award recipients, and partnered with Military Times where he continues his work as Curator of the “Hall of Valor”, the the largest and most complete unoffical database of U.S. Military award recipients in the world.
Doug’s wife Pam, while a student at CSU-Pueblo, authored “The Stolen Valor Act” which she and Doug shepherded through Congress, as well as hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court in what became a landmark 2012 First Amendment decision. Their efforts are detailed in their 2014 book: Restoring Valor – One Couple’s Mission to Expose Fraudulent War Heroes and Protect America’s Military Awards System.
Doug has been a frequent guest on all major News Networks, and in May 2011 was named CNN’s most intriguing person in the news. He has been featured in two half-hour documentaries, and done two guest appearances for Lou Diamond Phillips’ History Channel program “An Officer and a Movie.” He and Pam were featured in a 2011 in AARP Magazine, the largest circulation magazine in the world, and he was again featured the following year (January 2012) in “Penthouse” for his work.
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Stolen valor occurs when a person lies about receiving military decorations that he or she has in fact never earned. It has become a major societal problem that has been discussed numerous times in the news; according to the New York Times, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid disability benefits to more than six hundred people falsely claiming to have been POWs in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. The number of stolen valor cases reported to the FBI has tripled in the last decade. In fact, more imposters lie about earning high military declarations for battlefield bravery than the actual number of real-life hero recipients. These imposters trade on tales and the trappings of military valor to secure privileges such as career advancements and even unearned veterans’ benefits.
In Restoring Valor, Doug Sterner provides riveting case studies of the stolen valor imposters he’s investigated and exposed and the serious crimes—including murder—they’ve committed. He chronicles the evolution of stolen valor from the inception of the republic to today. Sterner shows why the federal law he and his wife, Pam, helped to enact—the Stolen Valor Act—is necessary.
“Terrific read. Stories of stolen valor you won’t believe, and those who hunt them down and participated in writing legislation to restore dignity to all those who have truly served in combat.” —Peter C. Lemon, recipient, Congressional Medal of Honor
“Restoring Valor offers a compelling and thorough account of this phenomenon known as ‘stolen valor.’” —Sen. Bob Dole
“True Stories of CIVILIAN Heroes That Defy Comprehension” is the fourth book in this series, and tells the stories of those men and women who performed heroically in service to our nation beyond military service. Some are military veterans who went on to accomplish brave deeds following their military service, but others never donned the uniform, but served in important and courageous fashion in defense of our nation. Indeed, numbered among them are several women heroes, demonstrating the that word “hero” is not gender specific.
These are the stories that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief, proving as one author once wrote, “Truth is not only stranger than fiction, but far more interesting.”
Pueblo, Colorado, the incredible town they live in, at one time, was the only city in America which was the home of four living recipients of the Medal of Honor, which some call the Congressional Medal of Honor. It prompted a President of the nation to ask, “Is there something in the water out there?”
The stories of the celebrity-filled visits to Pueblo by major celebrities, such as Wayne Newton and Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning, Vietnam!) and too many Medal of Honor recipients to share are neat and interesting.
If you are a veteran like my wife and me, this means a great deal to you and all the stories within these pages, which are eager to turn themselves while you’re reading. Presidents and generals salute Medal of Honor recipients and many veterans do, too, as they are held in such high esteem by military men and women.
Few have done more to honor Medal of Honor recipients and other recipients of valorous military awards for all branches than the Sterners. It is great to read the story behind the stories.
I challenge you to begin reading, and try to put it down. How Pueblo Became the Home of Heroes is a must read for anybody who cares about American history, military history, and our nation’s legacy of valor, or simply, a nice love story.
Don Bendell (2021