AVON, Ind. – A Purple Heart is back with its rightful owner thanks to a Hoosier hero.
David didn’t want his last name known because he said the story isn’t about him, but rather the important medal and who it belonged to.
“I want people to know this service member didn’t die in vain,” he said.
It all started months ago, when David—on a whim—searched “purple heart” on EBay.
“I came across this purple heart, WWII veteran, and I was really compelled with the fact that here was something being sold that belonged back to the family,” he said.
David found what he believed was an authentic purple heart.
“I thought I just need to get it and try to find the family,” he remembered. “It was really a leap of faith.”
Using the “buy it now” option, David spent about $212 and bought the purple heart from a collector in the UK. The only identifying factor on the box was a small label on the inside. It listed the service member’s name, serial number and tank number. It also indicated that the service member was killed in action while serving in Okinawa in April 1945.
“The name is Sergeant Lloyd R. Moore,” he said, reading the label.
David started researching. He quickly found Sergeant Moore’s obituary. Because David does not have social media, he decided to turn to the CBS4 Problem Solvers for help.
Listed in that old newspaper article was Sergeant Moore’s daughter, Jeannae. Within minutes of receiving David’s e-mail, CBS4 found a Jeannae Patterson on Facebook. Anchor Angela Brauer messaged her a few times before making contact via phone.
“The rest is history,” David laughed. “I was surprised at how quickly you were able to make connections.”
Jeannae’s story about how her father died matched the information provided on the Purple Heart and in that obituary.
“We got all of my dad’s personal items when I was probably in the second grade,” she explained. “This box of came and it had his helmet and his underwear. It was just a bizarre thing. It had a couple medals in there, neither one was a Purple Heart.”
While at David’s house shooting this story, we made a surprise phone call to Jeannae to tell her he would ship her father’s Purple Heart free of charge.
“It’s a gift,” he said, tearing up. “It’s a gift from a veteran.”
David was relieved to have found the purple heart’s rightful owner.
“It’s yours,” he told Jeannae. “It’s your dad’s. It belongs to you.”
That day, David shipped the medal to Florida. Jeannae got it the next day.