A recent article in the AARP magazine profiled Zachariah Fike, a National Guard veteran who is on a mission to return every lost or stolen Purple Heart medal to its rightful owner. An estimated 1.7 million Purple Hearts have been awarded to Americans wounded or killed while serving in the military. But there is no estimate of the number of these military honors that have gone missing.

Fike searches eBay and other websites and scours pawn shops and antique stores across the country, looking for purple hearts. Some people send him medals that don’t belong to them. If there is a name on the medal, Fike will try to find the recipient or the next of kin through an online search. When he does locate a surviving recipient, or family member, he uses his own money to frame the medal and then he delivers it IN PERSON. Zachariah Fike has returned more than 60 medals and is searching for the owners of another 100 in his possession.

If you have lost (or found) a Purple Heart, or would like more information about Fike’s mission, visit PurpleHeartsReunited.org

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