LEAGUE CITY, Texas – A League City police officer’s dogged detective work is being credited for reuniting a Texas Bay area family with their late father’s Purple Heart medal.
League City Police Department Detective Gary Yates discovered the Purple Heart medal about a year ago while working to destroy unclaimed property.
Police seized the medal while issuing a search warrant in 2012, and the medal was remained unclaimed after attempts to reach the family had gone unanswered, according to a news release from League City about the find.
“Knowing what it was, and knowing that it probably meant something to somebody, I took it and I knew I couldn’t see it destroyed,” Yates said.
Yates searched several databases and discovered that someone had reported a stolen Purple Heart from a car burglary in 2008.
The medal belonged to Navy veteran Albert Whatley.
Whatley, who served in the Pacific during World War II, died some years ago, but his son, Stephen Whatley, was still actively looking for the stolen medal.
Whatley and his family, who live in the Bay Area, were reunited with their father’s Purple Heart at the annual League City Salute to Heroes banquet on April 27.
“It feels great to get something back that emotionally attaches me to my dad,” said Whatley. “It’s a piece of him.”