Nation’s oldest park ranger loses presidential coin during home invasion, assault

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By Emanuella Grinberg

CNN

(CNN) — The nation’s oldest park ranger is getting a gift from President Obama for the second time after she was attacked Monday in her Bay Area home.

National treasure Betty Reid Soskin, 94, was asleep when an intruder came into her bedroom before midnight on June 27, Richmond Police Lt. Felix Tan said.

She tried to grab her cellphone but the intruder wrestled it from her before punching her in the face several times, causing her to fall to the floor, Tan said

The intruder dragged her out of the bedroom and into the hallway where he punched her several more times. She managed to crawl into the bathroom and lock herself in until the suspect left. She called police around 1:45 a.m.

The suspect, a male in his early 20s with a thin to medium build, made off with her cellphone, iPad, laptop, camera, jewelry, and perhaps her most prized possession — a presidential coin given to her by President Obama.

Soskin has been an office worker, a record store owner and a political staffer. But it wasn’t until she was well into her 80s that she found her dream job in National Park Service.

As a park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California she shares stories of working in a segregated union hall during World War II.

The role that has made her a local celebrity, eventually catching the eye of the White House.

Soskin introduced Obama at a tree-lighting ceremony in December in Washington DC where he gave her the presidential coin.

“If I can get that coin back I think I can forgive anything,” Soskin told CNN affiliate KTVU on Wednesday.

Fortunately, the White House has said that the president will replace it.