Veteran's grandsons reunited with Purple Heart
A Purple Heart medal found in an abandoned safe deposit box is now back where it belongs.
A Purple Heart medal found in an abandoned local safe deposit box is now reunited with family.
We first brought you this story in November.
The Purple Heart was turned over to the TN Department of Treasury's as unclaimed property. After our story aired the owner's family was found. This came after several tips from viewers and with the help of the Purple Hearts United organization. The medal belonged to WWII veteran, PFC Claude Parris. On Friday, Mr. Parris' grandson, Freddie Parris, was reunited with the medal at First Volunteer Bank on Broad St.
"A lot of people did a lot of work and I really appreciate it," said Freddie. "I always knew my grandfather had two purple hearts. My brother got one and I got one."
Freddie's brother, Charles, put his into a safe deposit box at a Ringgold First Volunteer Bank location in 2008. The box was abandoned, and was eventually turned over to the state.
"I didn't know it was missing until I got the call so I just assumed my brother was the caretaker just like I was taking care of mine," said Freddie. "I guess it slipped through his fingers as they say."
In the 1940's Mr. Parris served in the European front, fighting with American forces in both Paris and Luxembourg, where he tragically lost part of his right leg while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. For his service, Parris was awarded one of the nation's most significant military honors; the Purple Heart.
"He didn't talk much about it, but once in a while he would tell me stuff and realized all they went through," said Freddie. "All I heard him say was you don't even know you're hurt because your adrenaline is going and you're thinking about living and still trying to shoot the enemy."
Though his presence is no longer felt, Freddie says his grandfather's sacrifice and memorabilia will live on through future generations.
"We are a military family. I have ancestors from the revolutionary war through and my son is a combat veteran. So it'll be going to him and teaching my grandchildren all about the history of the veterans and the sacrifices for our country."
This is the first time the state Treasury has ever returned a military decoration to it's rightful owners since the General Assembly passed a law in 2011. The law requires bank officials to send unclaimed military medals from safety deposit boxes to the treasury rather than auctioning them off.