Woman Reunites 1950s Purple Heart with Recipients’ Family After Finding It in Thrift Shop
A recent find at an Arizona thrift shop connected a Florida woman with a long-lost piece of family history — and with it, insight into the life of a father she knew little about.
As a thrift shop volunteer in Phoenix, Teresa Ferrin comes across plenty of secondhand treasures.
But a few weeks ago, she stumbled upon a Purple Heart and other military awards that had been given out in the 1950s for service in Korea, she wrote in a Facebook group.
The awards were pinned to a piece of cardboard, and seemed quite personal — and luckily for Ferrin, the recipient's name was inscribed on the back of the Purple Heart, which is given to soldiers wounded or killed while serving, according to KTVK.
Ferrin took it upon herself to track down Erik Karl Blauberg, and soon learned that he had died in the 1980s, and was living in Apache Junction, Arizona at the time, KTVK reported.
"After much research, I was able to contact the surviving family (via Facebook) and let them know that we found these military decorations," she wrote on Facebook.
Among the surviving family members was Lisa Walker, who lives thousands of miles away in Florida.
For Walker, being reunited with the medals was exceptionally meaningful, as she and her seven siblings were raised by their mother, and their father was not present for most of their lives.
"I didn't even know he had a Purple Heart. It would be the only thing we ever had of my father's," Walker told KTVK. "I do think it's a sign from my father, but I don't know. It's just hard. It's bittersweet."
Ferrin told the outlet that the medals are currently en route to Walker and her family, and that this is the first time she's ever been able to reunite a thrift store find with its previous owner.
"I couldn't be more thankful for her," Walker said. "She never gave up on it."
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