Man Reunited With Uncle’s Missing WWII Medal

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ROGERS (KFSM) -- Wayne Fuller was shocked after a recent late night phone call told him what happened to his uncle's World War II Purple Heart medal.

Derrell Fuller, his uncle, died in 1945 while fighting in Germany.

“My understanding was my uncle was a tank driver," said Wayne Fuller. "It was towards the end of the war, it was like three weeks before the war ended, he raised up out of the tank and was basically cut in half with a machine gun.”

His body now rests at a cemetery in France.

Growing, up Fuller said he would hear stories from his father about the brothers who went to war.

He said the family knew his uncle received a Purple Heart medal but did not know what happened to it.

“I assume that his wife got the Purple Heart and then it got passed on to her son," Fuller said. "Her son was actually paralyzed and he never had any children and apparently the medal just got discarded by the son’s wife.”

Fuller said he recently got a call from the organization Purple Hearts Reunited that helps return lost war medals to families.

“At first when they called I thought they were just wanting a money donation," Fuller said. "You know, you don’t get calls like that at eight o’clock at night. I actually sat there and cried and shook all most of the night. I was just in shock."

The medal was found online, where Fuller explained a man was attempting to sell it in Georgia.

That didn't happen though.

Instead the Purple Heart was returned to Fuller.

“It’s a connection I never had until this point," Fuller said. "Yeah, we had a couple of family pictures and that was about it, but now I’m actually connected back with him."

Fuller said there are no brothers who are still alive and his family is scattered throughout the country.

He has known about his uncle's grave in France for a while but has never had the opportunity to visit.

He said his father hoped to visit, but passed away before he could.

Now Fuller hopes that someone will propose legislation to prevent the sale of war medals like his uncle's Purple Heart.

He said in some cases men died for those medals and are not for others to sell.