Twenty years after a Purple Heart was found in a dumpster in Memphis, the medal was reunited with Kate Wilder, the niece of World War II veteran Robert “Bobby” Wilder.
Bobby Wilder served in the Navy and died in 1944. His Purple Heart initially went to the Kate Wilder’s grandmother, and it was eventually handed down to Kate’s son, who also served in the Navy.
Kate said her son kept the medal for awhile, but it was eventually lost. As best she can figure, the Purple Heart ended up in a storage unit, and when the unit was cleaned out, the medal mistakenly ended up in the trash, where it was eventually found by Steve Stefanoff two decades ago.
Stefanoff held onto the medal and tried to find its rightful owner, to no avail. But thanks, in part, to Major Zachariah Fike, who runs Purple Hearts Reunited, a non-profit aimed at, as the name implies, reuniting lost Purple Hearts and other military medals with their rightful heirs, Wilder’s Purple Heart is now in the hands of his niece, Kate.
Kate called the reunion “remarkable.”
[ WJRH ]