A woman received something very special on Sunday that had belonged to her father and was found at an unlikely place in North Fork, New York.
The story of uniting Seattle resident Lynn Hollaman Bryson with her father R.S. Hollaman’s Purple Heart medal began when Lisa A. Dabrowski was perusing yard sales and spotted it, Patch.com reported Thursday.
Dabrowski is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit Number 1 in New York, and thanks to her keen eye, Bryson was presented with the Purple Heart during a recent ceremony in Riverhead, New York.
Images showed the medal framed in a glass case:
The Purple Heart was introduced as the “Badge of Military Merit” by Gen. George Washington in the late 1700s, and is considered the nation’s oldest military award, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In August 1782, Washington wrote:
The General ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military merit, directs that whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth, or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward.
“I want to thank all the folks involved as this magical story unfolded,” Bryson said. “Dad was a kind, loving, gentle, happy man, always smiling. He was a free spirit.”
Her father joined the U.S. Army when he was 19 in 1943 but was injured by shrapnel in the Philippines. He later endured three hip replacements.
Upon his return home in 1945, it was believed the man gave the medal to his mother, who was a Patchogue resident. However, it apparently went missing when she moved.
He passed away in 2010. “Dad never talked about the war. I never knew he got the medal,” Bryson explained.
Lynn Bryson was presented with her father's Purple Heart medal — one she'd never known existed, and that was found by pure chance at a Long Island yard sale. https://t.co/nh0P6YHPN9
— Patch (@PatchTweet) June 30, 2022
The medal had reportedly been in the possession of individuals who did not know the recipient or how they came to have it. But thanks to a lot of research, it was finally back where it belonged.
According to Bryson, “It’s like having my dad back.”