TULLAHOMA, Tenn. - A Tullahoma man recognized as one of the most decorated war veterans in the country is now without a home, and working to rebuild his life.
Thomas Gwynn, 94, is currently living in a hotel room, after a fire ripped through his home last week. He was inside at the time and was able to escape with only a few bumps and bruises.
"The fire was coming up on me, so I ran to the door," said Gwynn. "Would you believe that it wouldn't open? I pulled it once, twice, and the third time it came open."
Gwynn watched as his home of 44 years on E. Ragan Street burned. Countless medals, including multiple purple hearts, he was awarded for his service during World War II and Korea are now unaccounted for. One medal recently given to him by the government of France was kept separately, and survived.
"Monday, I was looking where I could put it, and I couldn't find a place," said Gwynn. "I couldn't find a place, if I had, it had been bad."
Gwynn said his cat also escaped during the fire and is unaccounted for. He said he plans to rebuild his home.
"That's my home," said Gwynn. "I wouldn't live no other place. That's the best place you can live."
Gwynn has insurance, and will be staying at a hotel for the next few days. He has family in the area helping him out as well.
Investigators said they still haven't determined what caused the fire.
Students in the Academy of Energy and Power at Maplewood are busy getting ready for next week's Project Expo and had the opportunity to show it off some of their projects to Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.