Photo courtesy of Purple Hearts Reunited, Inc
Join us for a simply wonderful afternoon when the charitable foundation Purple Hearts Reunited along with volunteer researchers from the Chicago Genealogical Society return lost purple heart medals to Chicagoland families . . . in a group ceremony where you'll hear about the research and be able to see the framed purple heart presentations . . . that honor these veteran heroes . . . that return their valor to the families and communities . . . that thank our volunteer researchers . . . and that shares with you a researchers' account of how each lost purple heart has a journey all its own, often touching the lives of many people on its way back home.
If you're unfamiliar with Purple Hearts Reunited and what their mission can do for a family, this 2-minute NBC News video is a great introduction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuhhSMogb58
This event's research partner, the Chicago Genealogical Society, has given its now 30 volunteer researchers the opportunity to work with Purple Hearts Reunited to return lost purple hearts since 2014. Most genealogical researchers tracing their own lineage acquire a skillset that's simply perfect in helping this mission . . . identifying who the correct veteran is and gathering documentation to write their biography.
This event's hosting partner, Chicago's American Legion Post #973 - Tattler Post in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, is a large group of Chicago veterans from all branches of our Armed Forces. They work to serve our community, state, and nation by being active in our neighborhoods through volunteer programs, social events, and through charitable giving. They support Purple Heart Reunited's mission: "To return lost or stolen military medals of valor to veterans or their families, in order to honor their sacrifice to the nation."
So what's the backstory here?
Everyday purple heart medals go missing, and the charitable foundation Purple Hearts Reunited rescues them through receiving donations in the mail and by other means. How and why do purple heart medals go missing? You name it . . . theft, misplacement, forgetfulness . . . you'll hear many examples at our event. How are lost purple hearts found? Again, you name it . . . in purses, garage sales, dumpsters, metal detectors, even a dog digging in her backyard (take a peak at the digging dog in USA Today's video coverage from 2015 http://youtu.be/5NOREO4wXrE . . . if you're wondering, the answer is "Yes!," the evening this video aired, friends saw it and phoned CPL Litman's daughter in California!).
Once Purple Hearts Reunited rescues a lost purple heart, they contact volunteer researchers, like our large group from the Chicago Genealogical Society. Sound like easy research? On occasion it is, especially if the name engraved on the back is extremely unusual. But since there's no master list of which purple heart medal was awarded to which veteran in which U.S. conflict, the name and the clues that accompany the lost purple heart are often all there is to begin research with . . . and as for researching common American names, just think about how many WWII veterans were named "John Smith" alone . . . over 4,000!
Once our researchers have completed their incredible task of writing a veteran's biography and finding probable next of kin, it can get even tougher from there! In this day and age of so many scammers on the phone and online, just imagine what Purple Hearts Reunited has to go through to contact the next of kin in order to return these precious medals to the veteran or family at no cost. Indeed, they've said, "Thank God for Facebook!" more than once.
All of this backstory culminates into our May 9th Ceremony, allowing us to honor the veterans and get the valor that accompanies these lost purple heart medals back home.
If you'd like more information about these three organizations before this inspiring May 9th event, please visit:
We will meet at the American Legion Post #973-Tattler Post, 4355 N. Western Avenue, Chicago. Look for the American Legion sign on the front door. Attendees please arrive between 12:30-12:45 p.m. Event starts at 1:00pm. Hope to see you there!