Purple Hearts Reunited founder Capt. Zachariah Fike, who was wounded in Afghanistan while serving with the Vermont Army National Guard created Purple Hearts Reunited.
His labor of love began with an effort to find the owner of a Purple Heart that was given to him as a gift.
Since then, Zachariah Fike, a captain in the Vermont National Guard, has returned more than 100 Purple Heart medals, sometimes lost, sometimes stolen, to relatives of the original recipients. Most of those recipients were awarded the medal after being killed in combat.
“It’s my mission. It’s my ministry if you will,” Fike said recently at a Denver national convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization of veterans wounded in combat. “I can’t keep up.”
Fike, who created Purple Hearts Reunited in 2012, has accumulated another 300 Purple Heart medals to deliver to families.
The service members’ medals and other property often are lost in estate sales, found in basements and attics, or sometimes in pawn shops, antique stores or thrift stores if they are stolen. The medals keep coming at a rate of three to five per week.
Since 2012, Purple Hearts Reunited has returned more than 60 lost medals to family members.
“These medals belong with either these heroes’ descendants or, at the very least, in a place of honor,” said Fike, who about two years ago founded the nonprofit organization Purple Hearts Reunited. “His family is not with us anymore, so we wanted to bring it to a place of honor, and this most certainly is a place of honor.”
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