“If I can get that coin back, I think I can forgive anything,” Betty Reid Soskin told KTVU.
The 94-year-old park ranger was the victim of a brutal attack earlier in the week when an unidentified man broke into her apartment, punched her several times and stole precious items, including a coin she received from President Barack Obama last Christmas.
President Obama gave Soskin the coin for her years in public service after she introduced him at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. She is the oldest park ranger in the nation and works at Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, Fox News reports.
According to NBC Bay Area, Soskin’s supervisor Tom Leatherman received an email from the White House saying that the president would replace the coin. Leatherman has also set up a fund to replace Soskin’s belongings.
“She’s part of our park service family. We’re all pretty emotional,” Leatherman told NBC. “We go from disbelief to figuring out what we can to do help.”
Police say the robber broke into Soskin’s apartment on Monday around 1:45 a.m, entering through a sliding glass door while she slept, according to KTVU.
Soskin and the robber struggled, and she says he hit her several times in the face and dragged her down a hallway.
“I fully expected he was going to kill me,” she said. “He doubled up his fist and hit me a couple of times on the sides of my face with all his might.”
She hid in her bathroom until the robber left, but not before plugging in her iron, preparing to mark the robber for the police if he approached her again.
In addition to the coin, police say the suspect got away with her laptop, iPad, jewelry, camera and cell phone. According to authorities, the suspect is a White male in his early twenties with a slim build.
Soskin’s face is stricken with scars and bruises from the attack, but she doesn’t consider herself a victim.
“This is my space and it was invaded and I need to reclaim it so I’m going to stay here,” she told KTVU.