When an Arizona couple spotted a Purple Heart at goodwill on sale for $4.99, they knew they had to buy it.
Laurie Hardy and her husband didn’t want the medal, though. They wanted to return it to the hero who earned the medal.
The couple in Mesa had just one clue: the name inscribed on the back, Eual H. Whiteman. After reaching out on social media and having the picture shared som 35,000 times, Laurie learned that Private Whiteman died in 1991 and is buried in the Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon – but that wasn’t the end of the search.
With the help of fellow patriots, Laurie and her husband tracked down the World War II veteran’s former sister-in-law Phyllis Lawson in Missouri.
“This is one of the highest military honors you could get. This is something the family will cherish for a lifetime,” said Hardy.
Hardy learned that Whiteman was a war hero, earning three Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman Badge while serving with the 82nd Airborne Division. He later went on to be featured in “Life” magazine for bull riding and was also a stuntman in “The Way West” staring Sally Fields and Kirk Douglas.
“She wanted to repay me the $4.99!” Hardy laughed recounting the call, “I said ‘no, this is my good deed for the day.’”
“Legacy is something we don’t have a lot of and it’s precious to ya,” said Lawson.