The country’s oldest full-time park ranger was beaten in her Richmond, California home by an intruder, who also stole a special commemorative coin given to her by President Obama.
Last Monday, Betty Reid Soskin, 94, was at home sleeping when she woke up to a stranger in her bedroom.
“I fully expected he was going to kill me. He doubled up his fist and hit me a couple of times on the sides of my face with all his might,” Soskin told KTVU News. “Nothing else I could think of was to scream and scream and scream,” she added.
According to the news site, Soskin was able to crawl into the bathroom and lock herself inside until the suspect left.
California Police Lt. Felix Tan said that Soskin was treated for her injuries and is currently resting at home, but isn’t back to work giving tours five days a week at the Rosie the Riveter WWII National Home Front National Historical Park, NBC’S Bay Area affiliate noted.
“This is a vicious, heinous crime,” Tan said. “This is vicious enough for anyone at any age.”
In addition to punching Soskin and dragging her out of her bedroom, the unknown assailant stole her cellphone, iPad, laptop, camera, jewelry and a coin POTUS gave her last year to honor her achievements and service.
For Soskin, if the coin is given back, “all is forgiven.”
While retrieving the original coin is probably unlikely, President Obama has reassured Soskin that he will send her a new one to replace the one that was stolen. POTUS gave Soskin that coin last December during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at The White House.
In addition, a special fund has also been set up to help Soskin replace her stolen items, stressing that her legacy is important and that she needs our help.
“We are all deeply upset by these events, but can report that she is recovering well. Beyond immediate needs, all funds raised here will be used, as Betty has asked, to complete a film in progress that contains vital documentary information about Betty’s life and impact. This is the legacy that she wants to continue passing on to younger generations, and a remarkable testimonial to her strength of spirit.”
Police are still searching for Soskin’s attacker who has been described as a white male in his early to mid-20s 5’8” with a slim build.