Man Finds Discarded Purple Heart On The Street, Then A Mission Is Underway…

Finding a piece of history is truly something sensational, but when one man found this purple heart medal lying on the street, he knew that he had to help return it to its rightful owner. But it was what was written on the back of the heart medal that really got this man’s mind racing…

It’s not everyday that you find a discarded medal of a hero on the side of the road, but when Joseph “Dusty” Ridlon, a retired plumber from the outskirts of New York found this incredibly rare object, he knew he had to do what he could to get it back to where it belonged. The words written on the back of the medal were the main thing that spurred Dusty on…

The Incredible Story Of The Lost Purple Heart

When Dusty found this purple heart medal, he had to contact a lot of people to try and get it back to where it belonged. And it seemed that after he handed it in, other people understood the importance and value of the medal – it was something truly special. After half a century of being missing, so many people worked towards making sure the medal returned to its rightful owner.

NEXT: So where did the story all begin?

This is Joseph “Dusty” Ridlon at his home in the outskirts of New York state. He agreed to tell the news his story of exactly how he found the medal, and realized its significance.

1. Dusty’s Discovery

Dusty had always enjoyed walking in the sunshine, but this day had been different. Little did he know he was about to come across something of such historical importance and of great pride to his country. He had found the purple heart medal after spotting a little tin box on the side of the street…

NEXT: This is the tin box he found, but what was inside was more remarkable…

When Dusty saw something glinting on the side of the street, he was instantly curious at the object that had caught his eye.

2. The Tin Box

It was an old tin box, one that looked slightly rusted and forgotten as it lay by the side of the road. As you can see, the little tin box that Dusty  agreed to show us was filled with pins and badges, and inside there folded in two was the little purple heart medal. It was a strange combination of items, but the one that caught Dusty’s eye isn’t difficult to guess.

NEXT: So where exactly did Dusty find this tin box?

Dusty had been walking along West Broadway street when he stumbled across the little tin box that held inside it the purple heart medal…

3. The Side Of The Street

But what it was doing by the side of the road was a mystery to all. Had it fallen out of somebody’s pocket? Had somebody purposely thrown it out of a car window? It was a complete mystery how it had came to be there, but luckily, it was now in Dusty’s hands.

NEXT: In particular, this was the spot it was found…

Perhaps children had been playing with it and had left it there, but it was a total mystery how the tin came to be at this particular spot at the road’s edge.

4. The Exact Spot

Some would call it a miracle, that in this little tin box that mysteriously had appeared by the side of the road would contain a valuable momentum showing the pride and loyalty of one man to his country. It had been missing for 50 years and it was time that the medal was returned to the family that deserved and owned it.

NEXT: But how did Dusty know that the medal was so important?

It’s not hard to realize how important a medal like this is when you know it’s history, but what everyone was curious about, was how did Dusty know its significance?

5. The Purple Heart Medal

The only person we can ask this to is Dusty himself, so we did. What he told us was truly mind-blowing. He knew exactly what this beautiful purple heart medal was for, and that was why he had been so eager to get it returned to the rightful owner, or the family of the person it had originally been given to.

NEXT: Dusty had known exactly what it was, and his reason was truly astounding…

We asked Dusty how he knew what the medal was, and why he had felt so determined for it to be returned to its owner. It was a complete revelation when Dusty said this:

6. The Revelation

“I picked it up, I knew exactly what it was…” Dusty said, “Yeah my father had it.” It turned out that Dusty’s own father had also been awarded with one of these special purple heart medals, and it had been given to his father for serving during World War II against the Nazis. It was something Dusty knew was an emblem of pride and honor, and needed to be treasured.

NEXT: So what did the purple heart medal say on the back of it?

The only information Dusty had of the man who had been given this medal, just like his father, was the inscription written on the back…

7. A Military Hero

It had been awarded to a man named B. J. McNamara on December 9th, back in 1943. Just like Dusty’s father, it was a medal of honor, clearly stating on it that the medal had been awarded to this man for ‘Military Merit’. The man who this medal belonged to wasn’t just a soldier, he was a hero. The medal belonged to a veteran who had fought in the war.

NEXT: What Dusty did next was a very smart move indeed…

Dusty was determined that the rightful owner receive their medal once again, so decided to contact the local American Legion Post, in hope that they could help.

8. The American Legion Post

Dusty brought the medal in with him, and explained how he had found the purple heart medal, and how his father had owned one very similar, describing its importance. Eager to help out, the employees at the American Legion Post in New York decided to research it to see if they could find out more…

NEXT: This man was particularly excited by Dusty’s discovery…

After Dusty had explained what he had found, one person in particular who was very keen to help was Anthony DelRegno, the American Legion Post Commander .

9. The Commander

“I asked our historian if he could research it,” Anthony DelRegno explained. “He spent hours and hours and hours running into wall after wall.” As it turned out, there weren’t many records that they actually could fall back on. Nobody knew who had received a purple heart medal, unless they got one themselves. So DelRegno decided to contact the U.S. Senator…

NEXT: Getting in contact with the Senator’s office is a big deal…

Soon, the group at the American Legion Post managed to get in contact with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, and the story was once again repeated.

10. No Database

They needed help trying to find the rightful owner of this particular purple heart medal, and after months trying to track down the rightful owner of the prestigious medal, the U.S. Senator’s team came up trumps. Talking about the difficulty of finding the family who the medal belonged to, he said, “There is no database with a list of all purple heart recipients”.

NEXT: But somehow, they managed to get in contact with the right person…

It took a lot of research, but the Senator’s office finally discovered Sergeant McNamara’s children, and got in contact with them.

11. Her Father’s Heroism

Finally, the daughter of Sergeant McNamara was found, and the beautiful purple heart medal was returned to her. But that wasn’t all, she had a fantastic story that her father had told her to go with it. Sergeant McNamara had died in 1975, but he had been extremely brave during his lifetime…

NEXT: This is a picture of Sergeant McNamara during the war…

It was during the second world war that Sergeant McNamara fought, and his daughter told the story of why he had been given this medal of such honor…

12. Sergeant McNamara

As it turned out, whilst fighting during the war, Sergeant McNamara had been badly injured whilst in Italy, and he was soon captured by the Nazis. Somehow, he had managed to return back to America with his life in tact, even after some pretty devastating injuries, but he had served his country well. For this, he was awarded the purple heart.

NEXT: This was the medal he had been given all that time ago…

It was time for the medal to be reinstated with the family once again, and to keep the memory of Sergeant McNamara’s heroic actions alive.

13. How Did It Go Missing?

The last time McNamara’s daughter had seen the medal had been when she was just a child, and her mother had given the medal to her cousins so they could play “dress-up” with it, but it was never seen again after that. She had had no idea at the time of its great significance, and was moved to tears when it was presented to her.

NEXT: It had been decades, but now it was finally home…

It was a delightful moment to witness, seeing this medal being returned to its rightful owner, the family and children of a man who fought for his country.

14. The Reunion

It just goes to show that some things are more than just objects, but their worth is what they stand for, what they symbolize and the person they serve as a memory of too. This momentum was a very special and rare one, that the family of Sergeant McNamara were over the moon to have back with them.

NEXT: Speaking to a crowd about the medal, his daughter was touched…

McNamara’s daughter was absolutely touched by such a kind gesture of having the medal restored to her, and couldn’t believe how long it had taken them with all their efforts to reunite the medal with her family.

15. Tears Of Joy

“Having this medal given back to us is great,” she said, trying to hold back the tears of joy that fell from her eyes. It was as if a piece of her father had been restored. Talking about the medal, she realized the importance of it, and was thrilled to have it back after half a century, “It’s very special.”

NEXT: The ceremony was a beautiful one that the family would never forget…

Family members, friends, and former as well as current veterans in the military all attended to pay their respects and to celebrate the reunion of this medal.

16. Pride And Honor

It was a wonderful day for all, showing the pride of the country who respected and valued their members of the military, their former veterans and their families down the line. The McNamara family were overjoyed, and were extremely proud of their father’s work during the second world war.

NEXT: Last but not least, the medal finally made it home…

Sergeant McNamara’s daughter has vowed to keep the purple heart medal somewhere particularly safe, where others can admire it too and see the symbol that proves her father’s hard work.

17. The Happy Ending

It is amazing how so many people came together just to help this medal get back to its rightful owner, all the way from starting with Dusty finding the medal, to the Commander and historians at the American Legion Post, and then onto the Senator’s office where they really searched hard for the family.

It’s incredible how they managed to reconcile the family with the medal, and it’s a fantastic story that also shows the good in people. Here’s out show of respect to all of those who fought in the war, may God bless them and may they rest in peace!

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