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Stolen Purple Heart Returned to Minn. Family after Nearly 6 Decades

Updated: 01/29/2014 8:25 PM
Created: 01/29/2014 7:06 AM KSTP.com
By: Steve Patterson

After nearly six decades, a stolen war medal was returned to the family of a Minnesota veteran.

George Johnson died during the Battle of Hwanggan in the Korean War on July 28, 1950, and his parents were presented with a Purple Heart Medal and a Bronze Star Medal.

The medals were stolen years ago during a burglary of the shop Johnson’s father owned, but the Purple Heart popped back up last year in a box of "junk" found on a farm that was bought by a couple in Otsego.

On Wednesday afternoon, Johnson’s brother William got it back during a special ceremony at Fort Snelling. When he heard it had been found he said he was, "Shocked, completely shocked."

More than a half century has passed since his brother's death, but to William, the return of the stolen medal brought his legacy back to life saying, "He was a very young man, only seventeen years old, but yet he served our country, and I guess I've got to be really proud of that."

William Johnson, right, receives his brother's Purple Heart from Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito.
Photo: KSTP/Steve Patterson

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