After being wounded in Korea in 1953, Cpl. Salas’ records, along with those of many other soldiers, were lost in a fire at a Colorado hospital, said Helen Salas. The lost records prevented Cpl. Salas from being awarded the medals he’d earned in the war, she said. “He’s always wanted all his medals, and he could never get them,” said Helen Salas. Cipriano Salas’ granddaughter, Jessica Ruiz, said she has been trying to get the medals for her grandfather for two years. It was only after her quest led her to contact the local congresswoman that the longtime dream became a reality, Ruiz said. Ruiz said she was put in contact with Carlos Lopez, the Military and Veterans Liaison with Napolitano’s office, and within two months, Lopez and Napolitano arrived at the Salas home to deliver the medals. “He did everything for us immediately,” she added. The Salas family received notification that the medals would finally be presented on Nov. 14, which is also Helen Salas’ birthday, said Ruiz. “That was my grandpa’s birthday present for her,” she said. “Carlos, thank you so much,” said Ruiz at the presentation ceremony. “You are a blessing to our family.” The Purple Heart, signifying war wounds, was especially important to her husband, Helen Salas said. “I remember dad being a strong, quiet person who didn’t say much, but when he spoke, you listened,” said Bobby Salas. He added that he knew his father would be very pleased, in his own reserved way, to finally receive the medals he earned. “He’d be so happy,” Helen Salas added. Cpl. Salas died in 1993 of a heart attack that was the result of injuries he received in a traffic accident in La Puente in 1976, family members said. The accident left him a quadriplegic, and he was in and out of the hospital until his death, said Ruiz. Helen Salas said her husband’s injuries never stopped him from his passion, watching his children play sports. “That was his life,” said Helen Salas, “chasing the boys around.” Cpl. Salas is survived by four children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, said Ruiz. “I miss him a lot,” Helen Salas said. “He’s still with us,” Ruiz added. “He’s always with us.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2718160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LA PUENTE – Fourteen years after his death, and 54 years after being shot in the back by machine gun fire and stabbed in the leg by an enemy bayonet, Army Cpl. Cipriano Salas’ family was presented with the medals he earned fighting in the Korean War. Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs, made the presentation Monday at the La Puente home of Cipriano Salas’ widow, Helen Salas. The Salas family received Cipriano Salas’ National Defense Medal, three Bronze Stars, a United Nations Service Medal, a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and a Purple Heart. “I’m just glad that we’re able to bring a little honor to your husband’s service,” said Napolitano as she presented the family with the medals.