On August 2-3, 2014, The Chicago Genealogical Society was proud to support the efforts of the charity Purple Hearts Reunited http://purpleheartsreunited.org/ which returned three lost WWII purple heart and other military medals of Chicago servicemen to the families and communities where they belong.
Purple Hearts Reunited, Inc. is a non-profit organization that rescues and returns lost military purple heart medals to veterans or living next of kin in public or private reuniting ceremonies. Many purple heart medals are “lost” thru theft, fire or misplacement. Purple Hearts Reunited purchases and also accepts donations of lost purple hearts, having reunited over 100 medals with American families in the past 3 years. At present, it has approximately 300 purple heart medals to be reunited with the servicemen's families (at a cost of approximately $1,000 per ceremony). Purple Hearts Reunited is a non-profit organization that is funded thru tax-deductible corporate and personal financial donations (not via any military agency funding). You can find the many ways to contribute lost purple heart medals and your financial support on their website at http://purpleheartsreunited.org/about-us/faq/.
Purple Heart Reunited’s founder, Captain Zachariah Fike (purple heart recipient in Afghanistan, currently serving in the Vermont Army National Guard), conducted the two public and one private Chicagoland reuniting ceremonies below on August 2-3, 2014.
PFC Carmen V. Ramos' (KIA in WWII) Donation to the National Museum of Mexican Art https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Museum-of-Mexican-Art/60979969599
|Pictured are Sergeant William Kappel and Officer Brenda Valadez of the Chicago Police Department, Mr. Carlos Tortolera, President of the National Museum of Mexican Art and Captain Zachariah Fike of Purple Hearts Reunited.|
Welcoming home to Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, less than one mile south of where PFC Ramos lived, the National Museum of Mexican Art http://nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/ graciously accepted the donation of Ramos' WWII medals in hopes that a family member will soon come forward.
TEC5 Emanuel Mark's (WWII) Reuniting Ceremony
Such pure joy from 94-year-old Chicagoan TEC5 Emanuel Mark when he received his purple heart and other WWII medals from Purple Hearts Reunited INC. in a private gathering at his residence on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
|TEC5 Emanuel Mark receiving his purple heart with Captain Zachariah Fike of Purple Hearts Reunited.|
PVT Thomas Bateman's (KIA in WWII) Reuniting Ceremony
This was a truly amazing event that gave the Bateman family many answers. It included full military honors and was a large gathering of family, friends, Chicago Genealogical Society members, veterans groups, the local press and even a member of Illinois State Senator Michael Hastings' office.
|Pictured are U.S. Army COL Paul J. Hettich, Tom McAvoy, U.S. Army SSG John G. Trinca, Thomas Bateman Jr., and Captain Zachariah Fike of Purple Hearts Reunited.|
Read this remarkable story of how three men's experience came together thru Purple Hearts Reunited to give a son and a veteran the answers they've been seeking for 69 years (stories below listed in reverse chronological order).
- Daily Herald newspaper (04 August 2014) "World War II vet connects with family of man who died on his shoulder" http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140804/news/140809580/
- CBS-2 Chicago WBBM Newsradio (03 August 2014) "Lost Purple Heart To Be Returned To Family Of Chicago Soldier Killed In World War II" http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/08/03/lost-purple-heart-to-be-returned-to-family-of-chicago-soldier-killed-in-world-war-ii/ (CGS has requested that they correct the attached sound bite.)
- ThisAintHell.us blog (03 August 2014) "A Unique Purple Hearts Reunited Story" http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=54332
- The Sun Chronicle (02 August 2014) "Purple Heart Sons Answers" http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/nation_world/purple-heart-sons-answers/image_80060e7a-765e-5494-a8fc-ca2085706fd7.html
- Chicago Sun-Times newspaper (01 August 2014) "WWII veteran helps return Purple Heart to slain soldier's family" http://www.suntimes.com/29016680-761/wwii-veteran-helps-return-purple-heart-to-slain-soldiers-family.html#.U9_Dfmcg_IU
- Daily Herald newspaper (01 August 2014) "After 69 years of pain, Purple Heart comes home: Antioch Twp. Veteran fulfills promise" http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140801/news/140809943/
The Chicago Genealogical Society also encourages all families to:
- Make provision in your Will for who will inherit your military medals and family heirlooms, including your genealogical records.
- Request Your U.S. Veteran Relative’s Replacement Documentation & Purple Heart Medal http://purpleheartsreunited.org/lost-purple-hearts/request-replacement-documentation-medals/
If you'd like to see a couple examples of previous Purple Hearts Reunited ceremonies, we recommend watching: