WWI Hero’s Purple Heart Returned To His Grandson

A WWI hero’s Purple Heart is being returned to his grandson decades after it was misplaced. Joseph Hardy said he found the medal in his father’s attic in the 1990s. Although Daniel W. Quinlan’s name was carved into the combat decoration, Hardy had no idea where to find the soldier or his family.

A member of the 77th Infantry Division, Quinlan sustained injury during a 1918 poison gas attack. Fourteen years later, the veteran became one of the first 138 soldiers to receive the Purple Heart award.

As reported by the Oneida Daily Dispatch, the 1932 ceremony was held at New Windsor, where General George Washington held a similar ceremony in 1780.

During the 1780 ceremony, Washington presented three soldiers with the Badge of Military Merit. The badge, which was a hand-stitched purple heart, was awarded for “unusual gallantry in battle.”

As discussed by PurpleHeart.org, the Purple Heart award is a modernized version of Washington’s Badge of Military Merit.

The award, which is specifically given to combat veterans, “is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.”

As reported by Fox News, Daniel W. Quinlan was killed in a car accident just six years after receiving the award. He was survived by his wife and two children.

It is unclear how the WWI hero’s Purple Heart ended up in an attic. However, his grandson, William, is looking forward to receiving an important part of his family’s history.

As Joseph Hardy was unable to locate Quinlan’s family, he turned the medal over to Vermont’s Purple Hearts Reunited. To date, the organization has reunited more than 150 military decorations to veterans and their families.

The WWI hero’s Purple Heart will be part of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor ceremony in New Windsor. It will then be transported to the late veteran’s grave marker at the Church of Saint Denis Cemetery. Daniel W. Quinlan’s Purple Heart medal will then be presented to his grandson.

William Quinlan never had the chance to meet Daniel. However, he said “[it’s] going to be amazing” to hold his grandfather’s medal in his own hands.

Purple Hearts Reunited founder Zachariah Fike is credited with finding Daniel W. Quinlan’s family and returning The WWI hero’s Purple Heart to his grandson.

[Image via Shutterstock]