Letter to the Editor sent to Mercer County Outlook on 10-15-19 (certain items were redacted)

My name is Larry Regedanz, a 51 year old United States Marine Corps Veteran, and currently a high school teacher in Van Wert Ohio. When my mother asked me to help her get a copy of my 1986 boot camp photo to replace her damaged photo of me I thought it would be an easy task. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I sent a scanned copy of the 33 year old boot camp photo to XXXX and it met the resolution requirements for an 8×10 printout. When my mother, Linda Regedanz tried to pick up the photo she was told that it belonged to the government and was threatened with a $10,000 fine for copyright infringement. I told her not to worry about it, so after school I picked my daughter up at the YMCA then took her to get her new glasses, drove through McDonalds, and stopped by XXXX to see what the deal was.

The cashier was unable to find the photo so she called a manager who was also unable to find the photo. When I explained it was my military boot camp picture, the manager wasn’t so nice anymore. She told me it was copyrighted. I tried to explain to her that it was a picture of me that I purchased and owned the rights to, and that I have had several copies made over the years and have used it on social media, and it’s even been in the news.

She said no, I can’t have it. I asked where it was, since she couldn’t find it. She said it had been destroyed. I asked to see the destroyed remains, she couldn’t find them. I then said that the photo was in the store a few hours ago, and now it’s gone, and that I was concerned since it was my photo. She eventually found it, not destroyed. When I pointed out that it was not destroyed, she held it up to my face and ripped it in pieces, smiling as she did it. I kept my bearings, and said that’s nice, how about thanks for your service? Not sure why I said that because I don’t really expect any special treatment as a Veteran, I didn’t even use the XXXX Veterans discount for the photo. I asked the Manager XXXXXXX what her last name was. She told me it was none of my business. I asked for a contact that my lawyer could reach, because at that point I felt something needed to be done. She told me to call the VFW. I said thanks and left.

At this point I was planning on contacting XXXX corporate but in the meantime I was contacted by the Celina Police Department who told me the XXXX manager filed a complaint on me because she felt threatened. The police officer told me that it already sounded fishy before he spoke with me as she was trying to cover her actions by filing a police report on me first, which didn’t work. I had recordings of the entire incident. She also called the police on my 67 year old mother, who I later found out only wanted the photo to have it put up in honor of me on the light poles in our hometown which honor veterans. She has since changed her mind because she feels that every time she would see my banner she would be reminded of this incident.

I will not be visiting the Celina XXXX or any other XXXX for that matter until it’s made clear by XXXX corporate on 1. their policy of veterans getting photo copies of themselves which they own. 2. XXXX corporate’s policy on how managers interact with not only veterans but customers in general. I am still waiting to hear back from XXXX corporate.