This is one infuriating story which goes back a fair ways. Some years back, Xavier Alvarez was going around wearing a Congressional Medal of Honor [See EDIT below] – and bragging about it to anyone who would lend an ear – without ever having served a single day in uniform. Thanks to the alert senses of one woman, a Marine herself who had finished her service, he was caught red handed and charged under the Stolen Valor act. His case is currently pending before the Supreme Court and he faces up to a year in jail along with other penalties.
But what happened to Melissa Campbell, the sharp eyed Marine who spotted his despicable behavior? That’s a story which may wind up angering you even more.
Less attention has been paid to the fate of the woman who helped expose Mr. Alvarez and who brought him to the attention of the FBI. Ms. Campbell, the event planner serving Mr. Alvarez snacks on June 27, 2007, was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served her country for 10 years.
But after exposing Mr. Alvarez’s medal claim as a hoax — later reporting to the FBI what she viewed as a crime in progress — Ms. Campbell said she wasn’t thanked by her employer. Instead, she said, she was fired.
“I was told it was unprofessional to confront him,” she told The Washington Times in a recent interview. The company did not respond to inquiries about her departure, citing a policy of not commenting on personnel matters. Mr. Alvarez declined through an attorney to comment.
Ms. Campbell now works as a family readiness officer for the military. She has politely declined the offers from a parade of lawyers inquiring whether she would like to file a lawsuit against her former employer. She told them she was not interested. While she still wants her name cleared, she said, she doesn’t want to spend any more time thinking about Mr. Alvarez.
On the one hand, I can understand Ms. Campbell’s attitude and seems to fit in with what we know about her character and history. She has no interest in lining her pockets through a lawsuit, found herself another job and would rather not think any more about the disgusting medal thief. The fact that she’s not out doing book tours and appearances on The View speaks highly of her. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to remain silent.
Ms. Campbell’s former employer owes, at a minimum, a public apology to her. And it wouldn’t hurt if some patriotic minded individual found a way to reach out and improve her job situation, at least to thank her for doing the right thing at significant personal cost. So who is the real hero in this story? Here’s a picture for you.
EDIT: The original picture displayed turned out to be a photoshop of the Stolen Valor perp. It has been replaced with a much nicer (and may I say, far more attractive) picture of Ms. Campbell. Also, the first paragraph includes the word “wearing” regarding the unearned Congressional Medal of Honor. It is not verified that the thief in question was ever seen wearing the medal. We apologize for any confusion.