WESTOVER (AP) — A Purple Heart medal found at a Goodwill store in New York has made it back to western Pennsylvania, where the recipient is buried and his family still lives.
A Goodwill employee found the medal while sorting through boxes, according to WJAC-TV. The agency then posted about the find online. A group called the Patriot Guard Riders heard about the medal and arranged to return it to the family of James Roland, a soldier killed in Italy in 1944. To return it, members of the Patriot Guard traveled hundreds of miles to the Westover Baptist Church in Clearfield County, where Roland is buried.
In a ceremony Sunday, Zuehlke gave the medal to Mary Roland-Struble, a relative of Roland’s.
“They don’t just give the Purple Heart to anybody. You have to do something extraordinary, and he did. He gave his life for his country,” Roland-Struble said.
It remains unclear how the prestigious medal ended up in a box in a Goodwill store in New York nearly 70 years after it was awarded.