Family reunited with relative’s Purple Heart 76 years after his death

HOUSTON – A special ceremony that was years in the making was held on Saturday, as a family was reunited with their loved ones Purple Heart.

“I feel tremendously happy for my family to have this come back into the family means a lot,” said Kirt Ashman, who was reunited with his relative’s Purple Heart.

Corporal Edward J. Ryan was killed after his tank was hit by an artillery shell in 1945 during World War II, according to Purple Hearts Reunited.

At only 22-years-old, he was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart. 76 years after his death, it was found hidden in an old metal box near Minnesota, where he lived.

“To the two gentlemen that found it, my family is just extremely grateful for it,” explained Ashman.

The people who found it contacted Purple Hearts Reunited, a nonprofit dedicated to reconnecting families with lost or misplaced military medals of valor to veterans and their families.

“It’s a really important thing and to see their families uplifted and reconnecting with their veterans,” said Erin Faith Allen with Purple Heart Reunited.

After verifying information, the nonprofit contacted Corporal Edward’s nephew, who had listed the heart on their Lost Heart Database two years ago.

On Saturday, Kirt was reunited with his uncle’s Purple Heart and even had a chance to connect with the people who found it by video call.

A special piece of his family’s history, now back where it belongs.

“It’s been sitting in the bottom of a tackled box and now here it is sitting in my hand many years later. It’s an amazing story. it’s an amazing organization,” said Ashman.

Visit here for more information about Purple Hearts Reunited.


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