RETURN TO SENDER: Mystery Purple Heart sent from Tucson

Purple Heart mystery

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Korean War veteran Don Voigt does not know what happened to his Purple Heart but the search for it has turned up an extra one at his home in Apache Junction.

A family friend has been helping Voigt track down a possible replacement for his Purple Heart and even generated some press coverage. The latter prompted calls and emails from across Arizona from people wanting to give their own medal or one earned by a family member to Voigt.

Mystery purple heart sent from Tucson
Mystery purple heart sent from Tucson (Source: KOLD News 13 Staff)

"I appreciate it," he said. "Don't get me wrong. I just...I don't want theirs."

Now in his 80s, Voigt doesn’t remember everything about his service. He joined the National Guard as a teenager in Illinois. The next thing he knew he was on the Korean Peninsula. He was closer to war than he would’ve liked.

"They said 'fix bayonets'. Man, you better believe I was crapping my drawers on that one," he joked.

The enemy never showed, but Voigt wasn’t out of battle yet. A mortar strike sent him to the medical tent. He recalls someone presenting him with a Purple Heart, but the decoration didn’t leave with him.

"I set it there," said Voigt. "It was gone when I came back. That's all I remember."

As a family friend works to return Voigt's Purple Heart, this veteran would at least like to see the one that showed up in March to be returned to the rightful owner.

The medal doesn't have a name on the back. It arrived with the accompanying ribbon in a sturdy, worn box that reads "United States of America". The return address on the box in which it was shipped is mostly illegible. "Tucson, AZ 85704" is recognizable, but that's about it.

Voigt would like to thank whoever sent the Purple Heart. If that was you or you might know who it was, you can contact Val at 815-403-6844.

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