Long-Lost Purple Heart Medals Returned in NYC Ceremony - NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Long-Lost Purple Heart Medals Returned in NYC Ceremony

Private Frank Lymann Dunnel of Buffalo, New York, who has since died, earned his Purple Heart after being wounded in the Battle of the Somme during World War I

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    This is the first time eight Purple Hearts lost years ago are being returned to their families at the same time. Roseanne Colletti reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017)

    Eight lost Purple Heart medals were returned to their rightful owners as part of a ceremony in New York for National Purple Heart Day. 

    The families of seven U.S. service members who have since passed gathered at Federal Hall on Wall Street for Monday’s ceremony.

    New York City firefighter and veteran Daniel Swift was among those present. He’s the only one of the eight Purple Heart recipients still living.

    “Hopefully, this will finish it off for me and I can put (what happened) away,” Daniel Swift said, before receiving back his lost medal.

    Swift was wounded during the Iraq War in 2004 when a roadside bomb struck his Humvee, but he still rushed to save the life of his injured comrade.

    A New York Army National Guard member and combat medic, Swift was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, as well as a Purple Heart, which he lost soon after he received it overseas.

    The explosion killed two other soldiers – the widow of one of them unveiled and presented the reclaimed Purple Heart to Swift.

    “It’s bittersweet,” Swift said.

    Private Frank Lymann Dunnel of Buffalo, New York, who has since died, earned his Purple Heart after being wounded in the Battle of the Somme during World War I. His medal was found in a bank decades ago, but only recently turned in, according to his great niece Frances Carlson.

    “It really brings him back in a whole new dimension for me,” Carlson said.

    Catastrophic Damage in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

    [NATL] Catastrophic Damage in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria Pounds the Island

    Hurricane Maria caused widespread flooding and damage after pounding Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm. Rescue crews have fanned out across the U.S. territory as it tries to rebuild amid an economic crisis.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017)

    Army Private Dan Lyle Feragen of Montana served in the Bataan Death March during World War II. He later died as a prisoner of war in the Philippines, buried in an unmarked grave and unidentified for years.

    His Purple Heart was posthumously awarded to his nephew, Lyle Feragen, at Monday’s ceremony.

    “It is one of the greatest honors I think can be bestowed,” Feragan said.

    The eight returned medals had Vermont-based group Purple Hearts United to thank. Its founder, Zachariah Fike, is a Purple Heart recipient himself and has made it his labor of love to track down lost medals.

    To date, the organization has returned more than 300 Purple Hearts, and they find as many as five each week around the country.

    “I have some very good volunteer researchers out there, and we work around the clock to find these families,” Fike said.

    Irma Triggers Florida Sinkholes

    [NATL] Irma Triggers Florida Sinkholes

    Part of an Apopka, Florida home is still standing after a sinkhole opened beneath it earlier this week. Dr. Manoj Chopra of the University of Central Florida says water from Hurricane Irma helped create the sinkhole.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017)

    The ceremony’s location, Federal Hall, was also George Washington’s inauguration site. The nation’s first president created the Purple Heart, which was known as the Badge of Military Merit at the time.