Sergeant Francis O'Donnell of Jim Thorpe served in the Korean War in the early 1950's.

He earned several medals for his service but unfortunately they were destroyed in a fire.

News 13 was there Friday when the 90-year-old veteran got the surprise of a lifetime.

"You have to go to the Christmas party!" is what O'Donnell's family told him. He says they were adamant he show up to what he thought was just a holiday party at the Panther Valley Senior Center.

And that's how the day started out.

But then Congressman Dan Meuser showed up, bringing with him an early Christmas gift for the 90-year-old veteran--brand new medals to replace the ones O'Donnell once earned, then lost in a house fire.

"He was in the hospital at the time when they had the fire at the house and they lost just about everything," said Joanne O'Donnell, Francis's wife of 61 years.

The Jim Thorpe native also received an "Ambassador For Peace" award, straight from South Korea.

"I enjoyed my time while I was over there and especially when I made my first third grade, I got a bottle of Black & White Scotch," said O'Donnell.

They're all truly meaningful tokens to commemorate his great sacrifice.

"It's so important that men like Francis O'Donnell, really part of the greatest generation, know that we don't forget the great services they've done for our country," said Meuser, who is a United States representative for the 9th Congressional District.

It was a special Christmas surprise to honor one of the many men who fought for our freedom.

"This is a big surprise to me. I knew they were collecting stuff from my service but I didn't know what [it was about]. But now, being honored here, I feel like a hero," said O'Donnell.

O'Donnell was also honored Friday by the Jim Thorpe American Legion for 68 consecutive years of membership.