Just thought I would relay a fascinating story about a veteran who was killed in action during the Battle of the Bulge, Belgium, WWII: Private Joseph A. Dills (Ref: http://www.36air-ad.com/names/serial/34594217)
The Murphy, N.C., Police Department is currently renovating their old historic police station building downtown (93 Peachtree St., Murphy, NC 28906) in a series of phases, as the project obtains funds to do so. While this renovation was in progress, a worn-out Purple Heart medal (without any ribbon attached, only the heart-shaped medal) was found on the floor in an old jail cell in the basement of the building.
On the back of the medal was engraved the name of Joseph A. Dills.
The medal was given to our Veterans Services Officer (Jan Griggs), located within the Murphy Courthouse next door, to see if the family of this veteran could be found. After hours of research and phone calls trying to find a family member, Private Dill's niece was located nearby in Nantahala, N.C., and was contacted by phone. Griggs told her the story of how her uncle's Purple Heart medal was found in the jail cell. She was surprised and excited.
Griggs found one VFW veteran who offered to purchase a new ribbon to attach to the old worn-out medal. The local American Legion heard the story and offered to purchase a walnut wood (single medal) shadow box with green velvet background (Army). Using the reference information we found online, the repaired Purple Heart was carefully placed within the shadow box with a small gold-plated name plate centered at the bottom, now positioned just below the repaired and original Purple Heart medal that reads:
Private Joseph A. Dills
32nd Armored Infantry Regiment
"Victory or Death"
Proudly Served - Home at Last
The finished shadow box arrived at the Veterans Services Office on March 8, 2017. A dignified and honorable ceremony is planned to present this once lost and now repaired Purple Heart back to Private Dill's family this month.
Home Again....finally back in the family's hands after all these years.
David E. Haney, Adjutant/Financial Officer
American Legion Post 96
Murphy, NC 28906