Purple Heart Found on New York Road Returned to Veteran's Family

Helayne Seidman

Helayne Seidman

A once missing Purple Heart award was returned to the family of New York State war veteran it belonged to. McNamara's family was reunited with the token after a painstaking search that began when the loss was brought to Sen.

The medal was found years ago on a NY road with the inscription B.J. McNamara on December 1943. "Having these medals given back to us is great".

The family of a World War II veteran was presented with their loved one's medal on Sunday - decades after it had been lost.

A local newspaper put the puzzle on Schumer's radar, and with the help of a nearby military post and a town historian, Schumer's office was able to uncover McNamara's first name. "McNamara Dec. 9, 1943" because there were thousands of McNamara's in World War II and dozens with the initials "B.J".

The man who found it did not realize it was a Purple Heart medal, and kept it until a few weeks ago when it was given to the American Legion.

"She took the medals out - my dad's medals - and she was pinning them on all the little kids and she told them to go outside and play soldier", Birong said. "I think that was the last time I ever saw those medals". He was captured by Nazi Germany while serving in Italy and imprisoned for at least 372 days, according to the Red Cross. "This is going to happen".

"That's very special", Staff Sgt. Bernard McNamara's daughter Catherine Birong said Sunday. "They went through a lot to find us".

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