Nonprofit has located family of Purple Heart medal recipient

Nonprofit has located family of Purple Heart medal recipient
(Source: Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona / Facebook)
(Source: Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona / Facebook)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona had put out a call to the public to help return a Purple Heart medal to a fallen soldier's family.

Goodwill worker, Norberto Lara was sorting through bins in the back on Thursday, just before lunch when he pulled out a small box and quickly realized it was special and doesn't belong on store shelves.

"To have one in my hands actually to hold it, I was like, oh, wow! It's kinda like ahh!" said Lara.

According to Major Zachariah Fike, the founder of Purple Hearts Reunited, he spoke with the war hero's 75-year-old nephew who lives in Oklahoma over the phone.

"He was able to confirm with information that I hadn't provided to him, so he was actually able to fill in the holes which is kind of a vetting process and so I have no doubt that he's definitely related," said Fike.

The nephew told Fike he plans to reach out to another family member before deciding what to do next. The nephew could have Goodwill mail it to him or he could donate it to Marshall University where Frederick reportedly went to school.

Fike added, at one point, the veteran's sister lived in Tucson. How the Purple Heart exactly ended up at the Goodwill on 4th Avenue still remains a mystery. Goodwill doesn't know who donated it, but believes it was a mistake.

According to a Facebook post, the medal was found in a box of items that were donated at the organization building at 300 N. Fourth Avenue, in Tucson.

"We believe it was mistakenly donated," Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona said in their post. "We've reached out to other VA organizations but could use your help."

The name on the back of the medal is Frederick J. Delahunt.

According to, a man with the same name was born in West Virginia and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. That Frederick Delahunt, who was also awarded the Air Medal died Jan. 30, 1944 and was buried in Tunisia.

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