10-year Marine heard boasts as corporate host
By Jim McElhatton
The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
“He’s speaking for my Marine Corps,” Melissa Campbell recalls thinking about a man claiming to be a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
On a tour bus trip to Southern California Edison’s Big Creek power plant, event planner Melissa Campbell was passing out snacks to dignitaries when one of them asked her a question that would change both of their lives and make U.S. judicial history.
“Do you know who I am?” asked Xavier Alvarez, an elected member of a local water board, not waiting for an answer.
“I am a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.”
Nearly five years later, Mr. Alvarez, who never served in the military, stands among dozens who have been convicted under the federal Stolen Valor Act, a misdemeanor crime that carries a sentence of up to one year of imprisonment for lying about receiving military honors. After Mr. Alvarez’s appeal, his widely publicized case recently went before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Less attention has been paid to the fate of the woman who helped expose Mr. Alvarez and who brought him to the attention of the FBI. Ms. Campbell, the event planner serving Mr. Alvarez snacks on June 27, 2007, was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served her country for 10 years.
But after exposing Mr. Alvarez’s medal claim as a hoax — later reporting to the FBI what she viewed as a crime in progress — Ms. Campbell said she wasn’t thanked by her employer. Instead, she said, she was fired.
“I was told it was unprofessional to confront him,” she told The Washington Times in a recent interview. The company did not respond to inquiries about her departure, citing a policy of not commenting on personnel matters. Mr. Alvarez declined through an attorney to comment.
Ms. Campbell now works as a family readiness officer for the military. She has politely declined the offers from a parade of lawyers inquiring whether she would like to file a lawsuit against her former employer. She told them she was not interested. While she still wants her name cleared, she said, she doesn’t want to spend any more time thinking about Mr. Alvarez.
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