An innate sense of obligation and a little internet sleuthing helped an Arizona woman get a Purple Heart she found in a thrift store back to its rightful family.
“Every time I’ve ever seen (medals) in a Goodwill or something I’m like, ‘Why is this here? This needs to be with the owner,’” Teresa Ferrin told CNN.
The Purple Heart is awarded to service members wounded or killed in the line of duty.
Ferrin, who found the heirloom at the Christian Family thrift store in Phoenix where she volunteers once per week, started with the name on the back of the medal and began her own investigation.
The medal belonged to Erik Karl Blauberg, a veteran who served in the Korean War and who died in 1988, the network reported.
A little internet searching, however, led Ferrin to Blauberg’s grave and an associated crematorium that ultimately provided her with the names of his eight children.
“I couldn’t thank Teresa enough for this,” Lisa Walker, one of two of Blauberg’s children Ferrin was able to locate in Florida via Facebook, told CNN.
According to Walker, the children had been estranged from their father for several years prior to his death, and Blauberg had left his possessions to his doctor, Fox News reported.
“They knew who he was, they talked to him occasionally, but they didn’t really know him very well,” Ferrin told the network.
Walker said neither she nor her siblings even knew their father had earned a Purple Heart.
“I knew — and my brothers knew — that he had medals, but we didn’t know he had a Purple Heart, so that was very shocking,” she told Fox News.
Meanwhile, Ferrin said despite the legwork, returning the medal to its rightful family felt great.
“My father was in Korea the exact same time that their father was in Korea, and my father has passed away, so Lisa was saying it’s divine intervention because she finally got something from her father,” Ferrin told CNN.