Fact Check

Did US Veteran Jacob Rivas Sell His Medals to Buy Groceries?

According to the story, the elderly veteran woke up the next day and heard a loud military band playing in front of his home.

Published Aug 3, 2022

September 22, 2013 - U.S. Army Sergeant holds the Medal of Honor during an Enshrinement Ceremony at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. (Stocktrek Images/Getty Images)
September 22, 2013 - U.S. Army Sergeant holds the Medal of Honor during an Enshrinement Ceremony at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. (Image Via Stocktrek Images/Getty Images)
A U.S. military veteran named Jacob Rivas sold his medals in order to afford groceries.

In early August 2022, readers asked us by email about an article that said an elderly U.S. veteran named Jacob Rivas resorted to selling his medals in order to buy groceries. The headline read, "Old Veteran Sells His Medals to Buy Groceries, Next Day Sees Military Band Playing At His Yard." While this article may have appeared to some readers to be legitimate, the truth was that the story was published as inspirational fiction.

On July 30, the article was published on the Turkish-language website news5media.com, with the author credit going to "admin." We also found the story on amodays.com and thedailymagazines.com. No credible news sources, whether they be local, national, or international, published anything about a U.S. veteran named Rivas selling his military medals to buy groceries.

The fictional story was published like this:

When a 93-year-old war veteran had no money to buy groceries, he sold his prestigious medals, unaware of what he was actually giving away. The next day, he woke up to a loud military band playing outside his house.

Some of the hardest sacrifices require the strongest will. Sometimes, you are pushed to make those difficult choices to bring a ray of sunshine into someone's life. But what 93-year-old war veteran Jacob Rivas did was a little too extreme and proved that sacrifice is always mixed in a soldier's blood.

According to the tale, Rivas visited a local supermarket and "was shocked to see the prices of the items had increased." So the veteran visited an antique store owned by a man named Billy Simpson, where he sold his medals, including a Medal of Honor, for a mere $250. (According to an official database, there has never been a Medal of Honor recipient with the last name Rivas.)

The story ends with Simpson showing up the next morning to Rivas' house with a military band to honor his years of service. Simpson also returns the medals to the veteran, telling him they reminded him of his late grandfather.

Amodays.com, one of the websites that published the story, added the following disclaimer to the bottom of the article:

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only.

In sum, the story of Rivas, a U.S. veteran who sold his military medals in order to buy groceries, was little more than inspirational fiction. These kinds of stories are referred to as glurge.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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