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Families receive lost Purple Heart medals of fallen relatives

A Purple Heart Medal (U.S. Department of Defense/Flickr)
July 11, 2018

This week, relatives of three U.S. service members who were wounded or killed in action received lost Purple Heart medals their loved ones had been awarded during World War II.

The event was made possible by the Georgia, Vermont-based group Purple Hearts Reunited. The group’s mission is to track down and locate misplaced medals, the Associated Press reported.

The medals were awarded to Staff Sgt. Marinum Gillesse, who was wounded in action during WWII and later died in 2003; and Pvts. James Nameth Jr. and Clayton Richard, both killed in action.

Purple Hearts Reunited, a nonprofit group, says it has returned approximately 450 medals since being founded in 2012.

Once Purple Hearts Reunited locates a veteran or their family, plans are made to either send back the medal directly or to establish a date and time to conduct a “Return Ceremony.”

Purple Hearts Reunited will travel to the veteran’s hometown or the home of their family to conduct these events.

Events can be either open to the public or a private family gathering.

These ceremonies are at no cost to the veteran or the family, according to the Purple Hearts Reunited’s website.

If for some reason a veteran or family cannot be found, Purple Hearts Reunited will find the medal a home of honor, such as a museum.