Spencer Solves It: Purple Heart to be reunited with army veteran more than 10 years later

SEABROOK – Navy veteran Travis Kiro opened a box of treasured items that tell the story of a real-life hero.

Inside that ordinary-looking plastic tub, was one of the most prestigious medals a soldier can be awarded -- the Purple Heart Award.

Along with it, a soldier’s uniform, a combat helmet that has nearly been destroyed by shrapnel, and several pieces of a bomb that exploded.

They all belong to U.S. Army Veteran Nathanial Ingebritson who was nearly killed while serving in Iraq after a roadside bomb went off near the Humvee he was riding in.

Ingebritson was immediately hit in the side of the head and in the arms by razor-sharp steel shrapnel from an I-E-D.

Nathanial was later awarded the Purple Heart medal.

But, during a move from Texas to Nebraska, Nathanial lost that precious award and many other items from his time in combat, which was more than 10 years ago.

Several weeks ago, just by chance, Travis Kiro, a veteran himself, discovered those precious pieces of Nathanial’s life after he bought the contents of an abandoned storage unit and discovered the tub containing Nate’s military memorabilia.

“I am what they call a reseller. I go to estate sales, storage locker auctions, garage sales, and I find items that I can get for cheap,” Travis said.

But when Travis opened this particular box, he knew he had found something you can’t put any kind of a price on.

“My first thought was, ‘Wow! I can’t believe this is the Purple Heart.’ I thought to myself, what must someone have done to earn this great honor, and I knew right there that someone very brave and very deserving had lost this and I needed to do the right thing. I knew he had gone through a lot to earn that and be awarded that medal,” Travis said.

Not knowing how to contact the brave soldier who owned this award, Travis contacted the Spencer Solves It team.

Spencer Solves It located Nathanial in Fremont, Nebraska, and gave him the news that he had been praying to hear for more than 10 years.

“We have your medal,” the Spencer Solves It team said.

“This is priceless to me. I thought it was gone and I would never see it again. It’s like, part of me”, Nathanial said.

Now, our mission is clear, thanks to Travis and with his help, we are going to return this simple-looking tub filled with a treasure trove of memories and pride and sacrifice right back to Nathanial.

It’s only fair to return this medal, which symbolizes bravery, to the brave man who earned it by risking his life for all of us.

“This means the world to me,” Nathanial said.

The Spencer Solves It team is still working out the details, but in the next few days, we will be reuniting Nate, as he likes to be called, with the medal that literally defines his love and dedication to this country.

About the Author:

Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.