World War II soldier has medal returned after 70 yearsPosted: Updated:
Rutherfordton, NC -
A North Carolina World War II veteran is being reunited with the Purple Heart he lost 70 years ago.
Corporal George D. Hemphill was an infantryman when he was injured in 1944 when some shrapnel from an enemy sniper left him partially blind.
Mr. Hemphill was awarded the Purple Heart which he promptly mailed home to his mother for fear he would loose it.
The medal however never made it home and it was never discovered what happened to it.
Fast forward to 2000 and Mr. Bob Blum also a veteran, who was shopping in a South Carolina antique store and spotted the Purple Heart and bought it for $70 so he could try and reunite it with its owner.
Through a mutual acquaintance Mr. Blum was able to make contact with CPT. Zachariah Fike and together they found Mr. Hemphill.
Mr. Fike a Vermont National Guard Captain also discovered in his search, that Mr. Hemphill was awarded a Bronze Star that he never received.
So today in Rutherfordton, NC, Mr. Hemphill was reunited with his Purple Heart and awarded his Bronze Star.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart was the organization holding the ceremony where Mr Hemphill also received a Combat Infantryman Badge, European African Middle Eastern Medal with 3 Combat Stars, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal, American Theater Service Medal, and Honorable Service Lapel Pin.
All of these medals were encased in a shadow box made by Captain Fike.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart or MOPH, was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all combat wounded veterans and active duty men and women who have received the decoration.
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