On Your Side
Family fights against state auctioning war hero memorabilia
State to auction war hero memorabilia Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
There's a battle over history raging in the city of Emmett this Memorial Day as a hero's family is at risk of losing his hard-earned honors... For good.
The sibling of a World War II flying ace is trying to prevent the state from auctioning off his brother's war memorabilia.
And it's raised some difficult questions on a day when we're supposed to honor those who've served their country.
Tonight we're On Your Side with what the family calls a state driven tragedy.
Larry sawyer's proud to know the City of Emmett honors his brother. It named the local airport after the Emmett native.
"There it is up there. I have a similar airplane on a barn at home" says Larry Sawyer referring to an airport hangar bearing his brother's name and the image of a p-40 Warhawk.
Charles Sawyer, was a world war two flying ace with 20 kills who also was one of the first members of the famous flying tigers.
"He's a hero to us" says his brother Larry.
The state plans to auction his Flying Tiger memorabilia to pay for his second wife's medical bills which were covered by the state because she was indigent.
"It's a difficult dillemma on this Memorial Day. On one hand, the family of an honored war vet and hero. and on the other hand, the state as creditor trying to pay back it's taxpayers."
When Charles Sawyer died in 1978 he left everything to his second wife Edith. When she died a few months ago, the state put the items on a online auction. Larry tried to have the items appraised so he could buy them, but he says he was refused.
"They said it had to go to an auction," says Larry "so high bidder gets it."
Reaction in town is mixed and passionate.
"That's just wrong. No two ways about it." says one man.
"It's both ways, because we should keep the stuff for historical reasons and another way we all pay for bills that aren't paid for." says one woman.
But Larry says he's going to the very top to put a stop to the auction.
"We're trying to talk to the governor, the lt. governor and representatives. We need help."
We asked what he would want to say to the governor?
"Please help us get the auction stopped. It means everything to us."
The online auction is this Saturday. We tried to contact the state today for comment but because of the holiday we were unable to reach anyone. We expect to have reaction from the state tomorrow.