Author Topic: Research on Bell System Vail Medal  (Read 207 times)

Online Fabius

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Research on Bell System Vail Medal
« on: October 02, 2016, 12:37:11 PM »
I just acquired another Vail Medal. This one is named to Roger P Mitchell and is dated 1954. I wanted to pass on the research information I've come up with on Mr Mitchell and his award.

First I contacted the seller, who is located in Springfield Illinois, but they are a pawn shop and had no information for me. Or more likely didn't want to share due to confidentiality concerns. 

A Google search on Mr. Mitchell found an obituary with that name. I was sure that the Mitchell named was my Vail Medal winner since it showed him having live in Springfield and being retired from Illinois Bell Telephone. He was a WWII veteran and was 90 years old at the time of his passing. He died in March 2016. The obituary named his surviving wife and daughter's names.  A Google search found them living at the same address in Springfield. I had a phone number but was unable to contact them. I sent a letter explaining I had Mr Mitchell's Vail Medel and could they provide information on the award. I received a reply which only contained original newspaper clippings concerning what he did to earn the medal. Interesting side note is that the newspaper article showing Mr Mitchell receiving the medal from an Illinois Bell executive shows his wife (in white) but she appears to be a different woman (different first name) then his last wife.

He and 2 hospital switchboard operators received the Vail Medal for their valor during a fire at a Springfield hospital.

The sad part is that this is the second Vail Medal I've found that was in a pawn shop.
Hopefully Mr Mitchell's story will live on when my time as custodian of his medal comes to an end and it's passed on.
Tom Vaughn
La Porte, Indiana
ATCA Past President
ATCA #765
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