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Colorado Springs VA clinic named for 'forgotten hero' honors his memory

July 6, 2017
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Keith LaMee talks about the various items that accompany the uniform of Floyd K. Lindstrom that was revealed at the PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Outpatient Clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Wednesday July 5, 2017. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

This story has been updated.

Veterans Affairs officials unveiled a case Wednesday containing the uniform, dog tags and other possessions of Army Pfc. Floyd K. Lindstrom - a Medal of Honor recipient from Colorado Springs - at the clinic that bears his name.

Lindstrom, known as the "one-man army," was awarded the nation's highest medal for bravery during World War II for charging a German machine gun nest on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1943, in southern Italy. Three months later, he died at Anzio, an ill-fated amphibious landing that eventually led to the capture of Rome.

While there are others who earned the award from the city, Lindstrom is the only one who grew up in Colorado Springs. Lindstrom had previously been awarded the Silver Star for valor in North Africa and had been offered non-combat duty after taking out the machine gun, but chose to stay with his unit, the 3rd Infantry Division.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in April 1944. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery and his medal is at the Pioneers Museum.

The 76,000-square-foot VA clinic at Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street was named after Lindstrom in 2015 at the urging of veterans groups.

Before 2009, little was known about Lindstrom beyond his storied military service.

Keith LaMee, a clerk at the Colorado Springs Post Office, changed that, spending up to 10 hours a week researching his life.

"It was just a matter of doing the right searches because when I first started, it was just his citation and, yes, he was from Colorado Springs," LaMee said.

The internet was little help, so LaMee turned to newspapers.

"The internet wasn't invented when he was alive," he said. "Until someone puts something up, you can't find it."

LaMee said he and Lindstrom shared a difficult upbringing that gave him a personal connection to the war hero.

"My father was an alcoholic," LaMee said. "He died when I was about two. Lindstrom's father was an alcoholic he was brought here when he was three years old."

In 1914, Lindstrom arrived at the Myron Stratton Home, a Colorado Springs charity established through a mining millionaire's philanthropy to shelter the poor.

After leaving the home in 1931, he worked as a soda jerk and then as a truck driver who became known for delivering loads safely and on time. His fiancée, Mary Jane Wackenhut died shortly after Pearl Harbor, and Lindstrom enlisted in the Army five months later.

"I just hope that eventually the city and county step up and start honoring this forgotten hero," LaMee said.

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