VIRGINIA

Doug Sterner documents military award recipients

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Following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Stolen Valor Act, the Department of Defense has started a database of recipients of the top three military awards. But one local man has been doing it for over a decade.

In his Alexandria apartment, Doug Sterner recalls moments of heroism with his Military Times Hall of Valor.

"Sargent First Class Cash placed the injured solider on the ground and returned to the vehicle to retrieve about burning solider, all the while he was still on fire," Sterner reads. "Those are incredible stories that would have been otherwise lost in history, and so this is what it's all about."

Since 1998, Sterner has cataloged nearly 200,000 military award recipients.

"It's a labor of love. It's like panning for gold," Sterner continued.

The DoD launched a database in July that documents the top three awards granted since September 11, 2001.

Sterner says he's gathered files from various national archives to track many more decades of awards. 

"My work is 97 percent preserving the history of real American heroes. Only three percent of is going after those who've falsely claimed these awards," he added. 

Sterner, a military award recipient himself, calls it his patriotic service.

" I feel like I've done my done duty. I've done what I owed my comrades."

He says he'll likely never finish, but adds it's a project worth fighting for.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Stolen Valor Act, Sterner says his goal is to immortalize those who've truly earned those military awards.

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